April 1st

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Neuroscientists have developed an AI enabled system which will eventually enable computers to “read” a person’s thoughts and write them in words on a screen. Intended for trauma patients, those in a coma or having “locked in” syndrome, the danger is that Facebook will start to use it to share what people really think.

For the first time since the second world war, the Wimbledon Tennis Championship has been cancelled. For some of the world’s great players – Andy Murray for one – we may now have seen the last of them on the grass court. Strawberry growers will be especially upset.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ceased to represent the Queen in public duties as of Wednesday, April 1st. Now they will represent the woke generation. Living in LA where there are more therapists per square mile than Trump supporters, Meghan will feel at home and be near her mum. Harry will do as he is told and Archie will learn to love diversity and dirty dancing.

In Alberta the kakistocracy government led by a nostalgia laden ideologically driven and insensitive Premier has provided a US$1.5 billion cash investment and a US$6 billion loan guarantee for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to ship oil that will not be produced to destinations that will not buy it at the price it needs to be so as to ensure the viability of the firms who may have otherwise produced it. Alberta is now on the hook for over 80% of the costs of this risky project. At the same time, the Trans Mountain pipeline construction is continuing funded by Canadian taxpayers. This is what happens when decisions are made on the basis of dreams not evidence. Alberta heavy oil is selling at a price less than a cup of designer coffee at Starbucks. It is worth noting that this comes after the Government laid off 25,000 people “to save money” needed for COVID-19. I am not joking!

At the same time, the Canadian Energy Centre (aka as Kenny Propaganda War Room and as the Centre of Alberta Ineptitude) has pretended to have a budget cut when in fact it is a deferment of 90% of advertising buying for 3 months but will be back to spending once the three months is over. No lay off’s. No shut down. It shows where Kenny’s money is going – to the pockets of his friends.

President Trump, not quite gaga but almost, uses his daily press briefing as a promotional TV show to showcase his “big brain” – he thinks he is hosting a reality TV show about mayhem and chaos. The US response to the COVID-19 pandemic reveals just how inept he and his administration really are – fewer tests per capita than many other nations, a lack of ventilators, a lack of needed protective gear for health workers, confusing messages about drugs like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, slow restrictions on gatherings, a failure to co-ordinate between States, blaming China, all sorts of ideas floated that get killed off once an intelligent person hits the President on the head with a large fish – one could go on. Yet the Donald has never been so popular. Shows that there is another virus infecting the US, one even more dangerous than COVID-19.

A man and his dog were arrested for speeding in Washington State (US). The dog was driving the car at over 100 mph and the man was “teaching” his dog to drive. This smart man – not a veterinarian – was “helping” the dog steer (“he was finding it difficult”) and keeping his foot on the accelerator from the front passenger seat. He is now a senior advisor to the Premier of Alberta.

April 4th

According to Forbes magazine, Donald Trump’s net worth has fallen by $1 billion since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. He is now worth $74.16 and 750 rupees which he picked up while in India. He also found some casino chips down the back of a chair in the oval office.

The British Labour Party has elected a new leader. Sir Keir Starmer (57) replaces Jeremy Corbyn (70), having beaten his two rivals in a national ballot involving over 750,000 people –  winning 56% of the vote. He is poised to clean up the mess left by his predecessor. Sir Keir is a former Director of Public Prosecutions (hence the Knighthood) and was, until this election, the shadow Secretary of State for Brexit.

Israel still does not have a stable government. Three elections and a power sharing agreement between the criminally indicted Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz still has not led to a signed up government. The planned cabinet will have 34-36 Ministers and will compete in the world rugby championships when they resume, fielding two teams. Netanyahu wants to stay in power longer than Vladimir Putin.

Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump, looks to be in charge of the White House COVID-19 strategy, which is bad news for the US. At a press briefing on Thursday he made clear that the Federal stockpile of ventilators and other much needed medical equipment is not for the States, “but for the Federal Government”. This is essentially saying “we’re got stuff which people desperately need but they can’t have it because I want a big stockpile to play with like my Lego”. Russel Honoré the former commander put in charge of disaster recovery after Katrina, reviewing Kushner’s comments, said “I don’t believe he knows what the hell he’s talking about”, which is also what the Palestinian authority said about Kushner’s plan for the Middle East.

The Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, says he was unaware that some people with COVID-19 do not display symptoms – they merely carry the virus and are able to pass it on. Clearly reading, understanding and comprehension are a challenge for this Covidiot. The fact of passive conveyance of the virus was widely known in January. Mind you, ten US states have not yet enacted a stay-at-home order: Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Covidiots are everywhere.

However it is Pastor Jonathan Shuttlesworth of Pennsylvania who wins the Covidiot prize this week. He has announced that he will be holding a Woodstock-like gathering at Easter to honour “our God”. Clearly, his God has shares in the undertaker business. When I was growing up as a Catholic (I am OK now) I understood that the work of the Church was to care for people and to demonstrate and show compassion. It wasn’t to show reckless disregard for human life. Mind you, his Covidiot status was a close-run thing. The Governor of Florida, Ron deSantis, has exempted churches of all kinds from his “stay at home” executive order, which he was one of the last to issue. Influenced by a thing called money, he is encouraging churchgoers to risk the entire population of his State.

It must be Covidiot week world-wide. Sally Vickers (70), the British novelist and NHS psychotherapist, has proposed that fit and healthy volunteers should be deliberately infected with Covid-19 so they can help fight the pandemic after their recovery. This “super race” could also compete in the Olympics and make pies at Greg’s and compete in the Eurovision song contest. They would receive “immunity passports” and be able to return to normal life while the rest of us remain under lock-down.  This is not the plot of her new novel. Just some ideas she has floated following a spell with a large green bottle that says Glenfiddich on the front.

The City of Shenzhen has banned the eating of cats and dogs – part of their strategy to prevent a reappearance of COVID-19. Leeds will likely follow suit and ban the eating of black pudding and my home town of Bradford will ban the eating of rats, which in my youth were a delicacy. Scunthorpe has banned the eating of tripe not for any health reason – it’s just revolting.

Staying with food, in the next few weeks the EU’s European Food Safety Authority is expected by the insect industry to endorse mealworms, lesser mealworms, locusts, baby crickets and adult crickets as being safe for human consumption. A mealworm and locust lasagna with a side of crickets could be coming to a home delivery service near you – which is what I thought Tim Horton’s food tasted like since I got here in 1985.

Bernie Eccleston (89), former boss of Formula 1 racing and a very wealthy man, is about to become a father again. His third wife – a smart lady called Fabiana – is pregnant at the age of 44. It is 65 years since he became a father for the first time. Best of luck Bernie! The baby boy is due in July and will likely be named Speedy.

April 6th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Marianne Faithful (73) has been hospitalized with COVID-19. Famous for her swinging sexy behaviour in the 1960’s and her implicit promotion of Mars Bars, she has been a musician all her long life. Her 2018 album, Negative Capability, is a meditation on the themes of death, life and ageing.

As Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital so that they can better manage his COVID-19 symptoms in an intensive care unit, the  Scottish Chief Medical Officer has resigned following her second warning for visiting her second home during the coronavirus lockdown, in breach of her own guidance and in defiance on the strictest lock-down orders of the Scottish government. She said “she thought it was widely known that there was one law for the rich and famous and another for the plebs”.

The British Grand National – a world leading horse race over fences – was run as a virtual race with real riders handling their “horse”. Forty horses completed the four and a half mile Aintree (Liverpool) course. The winner was Potters Corner, which came in at 18-1. Betting on the race was substantial and all profits were donated to the National Health Service (UK). No horses were hurt in this year’s race.

The Queen (93) broadcast to the British people and the Commonwealth on Sunday – a rare appearance on television other than at Xmas. She commended health workers, said that we were all showing remarkable resolve and determination and that future generations would look back with pride on what this generation did in the face of adversity. She did not mention Prince Andrew’s addictions, Meghan and Harry’s desertion or Charles’ ears. She thanked James Blunt for continuing his silence – something we are all grateful for. She said her Corgi’s were very tasty, especially in that nice sauce from Nando’s.

The 7th Marquis of Bath, Alexander Thynn, who lived at Longleat, has died of COVID-19 – he was 87. He was a great eccentric, lust-seeker (he had over 75 “wifelets”) and a (very poor) painter. He did marry – Lady Anne spent her time avoiding him, living in Paris and visiting the country pile every three weeks for a few days to make sure the bonkers Lord hadn’t sold off the estates treasures. He is succeeded by his son Caewlin Thynn, who is married to the stunning daughter of a Nigerian oil tycoon, Lady Emma. Longleat is a safari park. The family also owns Cheddar Gorge.

Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) is no more. She passed away at the age of 94. She was also a star in the great TV series The Avengers. One smart lady.

President Donald Trump, stable genius and big brain who could have been a doctor if he hadn’t chosen to be a bankrupt serial adulterer, is touting the magical properties of  the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a “cure” for COVID-19. In this he is supported by people who are money-grabbing sycophants, like Rudi Giuliani (quasi-lawyer come covidiot) and Peter Navarro (economist) and opposed by everyone who is an actual scientist, especially those who are doctors. Trump’s position is simple: take the drug now – what do you have to lose? One answer to this is clear: this drug could (and has) killed people if taken inappropriately, especially for people with underlying complications. The FDA has not (and is not showing signs of) approving this drug for COVID-19 treatment since there is zero evidence of its efficacy.

In its attempt to out manoeuvre Hungary and Poland in terms of seizing power and moving away from democracy, community engagement and public accountability, Premier Jason Kenney secured the passage of Bill 10 which gives dictatorial power to him and his Ministers – they are able to enact law without approval of the legislature. They are also able to make financial decisions with no reference back to the house. These anti-democratic moves rival those used by dictators around the world. When Justin Trudeau tried something similar just a few days ago, the UCP and Andrew Scheer shouted “foul” from the rooftop. This Alberta move has been met by almost total silence.

April 8th

Cardinal George Pell (73) of Australia, jailed for sexual assault, has been freed by the Australian High Court on the grounds of sufficient doubt. Pell was widely seen as the enforcer for Pope Francis until old allegations surfaced and he had to leave the Vatican to defend himself. The curia are a devious lot and there are conspiracy theories about why the charges were made in 2017 – the height if Pell’s powers as the Vatican change agent and hard man. He had served 409 days in prison. Commenting on the release, Pope Francis said it was pretty clear that “someone had it in for him!”.  

Bernie Sanders continues his campaign to win the nomination to be the democratic Presidential candidate in the November election in the US. He can’t win. The sad news is that Joe Biden will. Given his near silence for much of March and the rampant trollism of Trump, we now have a taste of what the general election will look like: farce. The good news is that Biden has promised to have a woman as his VP candidate. If he chooses Kamala Harris, then the battle will be much more interesting. She might just choose to prosecute Trump for war crimes if Biden wins – Trumpkin did declare himself a war time President.

Sir Keir Starmer, the new leader of the British Labour Party, lost no time in making appointments to his shadow cabinet. Among them is the former party leader (2010-2015) Ed Miliband. He is the Shadow Business Secretary and will lead Labour’s strategy for the post-COVID-19 economic strategy. Big job. Starmer has cleaned out many of the madly left-wing shadow cabinet which Corbyn left him – a total of fourteen have been “let go”, as they say.

In New Zealand, as in Canada, there are lots of questions about who have been deemed essential workers. For example, are liquor store workers essential workers? Clearly yes, and so therefore are bottle depot staff. Jacinda Arden, Prime Minister of New Zealand and mum to a small person (Neve, who is approaching her second birthday in September), announced this week that both the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are essential workers too. Let’s hope we don’t have to identify Santa as an essential worker in November / December.

The NY Times reports the President Trump’s family trusts all have investments in a mutual fund whose largest holding is Sanofi, the manufacturer of Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine – the “wonder drug” which scientists wonder why Trump is so aggressively promoting it as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Associates of the president, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, also run funds that hold investments in this pharmaceutical firm. Given that the Trumpkin’s business revenues are down $1 billion, he needs the money.

In Israel, Yaakov Litzman, the Health Minister and religious right-winger  had claimed that COVID-19 is “God’s punishment for homosexuals”, has tested positive for the virus. His boyfriend is not pleased. Neither is his mother who says “he never visits”.

OPEC postponed their planned meeting to rethink global oil production, in part because President Trump made tariff threats to Saudi Arabia and Russia. The ever helpful and insightful President Trump was sure he could broker a deal that would help his friends at Exxon and Chevron. The Trumpkin also made up a story – that Russia and Saudi Arabia would slash their output by between 10 and 15 million barrels a day, something neither country had talked about recently. In his fantasy world, he is using the Art of the Deal to broker a deal which the world needs, but he can’t deliver. “It’s a form of premature speculation”, said Stormy Daniels, his chief oily spokesperson.

April 11th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening….

Asked about the wellbeing of the astronauts on the Space Station, President Trump with the big brain said, “the Space Station is the safest place in earth”. He is from another planet.

Boris Johnson is now out of intensive care but remains in hospital under observation and near a supply of oxygen. Prince Charles and Lady Camilla, who just celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary, are near a supply of vegetables so that he has something to talk to. Prince Andrew is locked in the Pizza Express in Woking.

Up to 150 members of the Saudi Royal family are said to have tested positive for COVID-19. They have also tested positive for callousness, rabid racism, misogyny, conspiracy to murder and ruthlessness. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) have retreated into isolation to avoid the outbreak – they too are in the Pizza Express in Woking.

Sweden did not lock down its population. Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland did. Deaths from COVID-19 in Sweden so far total 793. Combined deaths from Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland are 493. Lessons learned? I doubt it. Sweden has a male Prime Minister, all the others are run by smart women.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is closed for the first time since 1349. So too is Manchester United Football ground. Two holy places, locked down by the pandemic.

Governor Ron deSantis of Florida demonstrates again his inability to read, listen and comprehend. He claimed, in his thinking about opening schools shortly after Easter, that “this virus hasn’t killed anyone under the age of 25” so schools should be safe. Three things. First, the virus has killed four in the US under 25. Two, not everyone in a school is under the age of 25 – teachers, Principals, janitors, secretaries, security guards. Third, every person can be a carrier. So once again, he demonstrates just what a covidiot looks like. Meantime, all schools in Pennsylvania will be physically closed for the remainder of the school year.

Sen Bernie Sanders has suspended his bid to the DNC nominee for President in the US general election in November. Jo Biden (770 ish give or take a decade) is now the presumptive nominee. Sad day for the DNC. They have a candidate who, despite the bungling idiot in the White House, could lose because he is a fumbling old white guy who just thinks it’s his turn for the job (this is his 3rd attempt). All depends on who he chooses as his VP – she could make the difference between winning and losing, especially if Trump sticks with Pence.

One of the people Sir Keir Starmer left out of the UK Shadow Cabinet was the ever fascinating Diane Abbot, former Shadow Home Secretary and Jeremy Corbyn squeeze. The longest serving black MP in the Commons as well as the first female black MP, Ms. Abbott has been a walking minefield for Labour for many years – no one was ever sure what she might say and sometimes she was not at all sure what she was saying. Fun stuff and often highly entertaining.  She will be missed, though no doubt she will, like dandruff, keep reappearing.

The volcano at Krakatoa erupted on Friday. The last time it did so in 2018 it caused a tsunami which killed over 400 people. President Trump blamed Obama for this eruption. Mike Pence blamed homosexuals. Ron deSantis called it a miracle that no five years old’s were there at the time.

The CEO of Walmart reports that, now they have stocked back up with toilet rolls, masks and hand sanitizer, the new hoarding is focused on hair colouring and hair clippers. The most popular dye is black followed by the orange colour used by President Trump on his face to help him look slightly human.

The Other Virus

TIDYUP-19 is a serious virus that has infected many households. It has a variety of symptoms: a desire to shred documents and bank statements that have been part of the household for a decade or more; a desire to declutter drawers, shelves and cupboards; extensive vacuuming of areas hitherto untouched by any form of cleaning; spraying and cleaning using disinfectants and antibacterial wipes; a desire to see clean, uncluttered surfaces.

In my car awaiting disposal are eleven bags of shredded paper, four large boxes on unwanted books and nine boxes of no longer needed household goods. As for the three smaller boxes of working pens and the two bags of computer cables, I am saying nothing.

The good lady seems to have this virus worse than I do. For me, it hits once or twice a week. But for the good lady it huts daily and lasts about two and a half hours, currently involving cookbooks (78 of them) and recipes (over 200 loose documents and papers). I worry for the fridge and freezer.

If I don’t die of COVID-19, I may expire as a result of fumes from Mr. Clean used as part of the response to TIDYUP-19.  

April 12th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Colby Cave (25) a world-class hockey player who played for the Edmonton Oilers has died from a brain hemorrhage. Shock. Such a young man with great talent.

Speaking of sad losses, Sir Stirling Moss (90) has also died. Growing up in Britain in the 1950s ,60’s and 70’s, Moss and Emerson Fittipaldi were the stars of the motor racing circuit.  They were talented men, daring, dashing and debonair. In its obituary, The Guardian says that Moss was the “best ever driver never to win the drivers’ championship”. His last race in a vintage car was in 1981. Another sad loss. And yet another one has occurred, this one from COVID-19 – Tim Brooke Taylor ex of the Goodies and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue passed away today. A very instinctively funny man and fast-minded wit. A great loss to the world of comedy and satire.

President Trump wants to end the US lock-down (such as it is) on or as soon as possible after May 1st so that he and his friends can start making money again. He is under pressure from the real President, Sean Hannity, to get the economy going again. All of the expert advice is to keep the lock-down in place until either a vaccine is not only developed but is widely available some 12-18 months from now or there is compulsory universal testing, mask wearing and other limits on gatherings in place. Given the poor quality of the US response, things don’t look good. If the US opens up and Canada does not, we will be in a new territory. He may begin just by opening golf courses – after all, his real job is playing golf, lying and being a covidiot. If he does open up the US, he will be asking people to die so that others can make money – “Die for Capitalism” will be his election campaign slogan.

For the record, the US has over 530,000 COVID-19 cases and  is fast approaching 21,000 deaths – the most in the world so far. The US has tested less than 1% of the population.

Boris Johnson is still recovering from his COVID-19 experience, just released from hospital and staying at Chequers. He is reading Tintin, which apparently his favourite book after his own and the writings of Winston Churchill. “Tintin is such an inspiration”, he said. Right. So too is a bus ticket. He will soon graduate to Winnie the Pooh.

Julian Assange is twice a father. Despite being holed-up in the Ecuadorian embassy as a way of escaping justice, he had sex several times with lawyer Stella Morris when she visited him. He now has two sons, Gabriel and Max.  They occasionally all get together at Belmarsh prison, where Assange is currently awaiting his extradition hearing – the US wants him to face justice as a Russian asset.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, delivered his Easter service from his kitchen. His wife was in the study teaching on the desk top so he used an iPad. Pope Francis did his thing in an empty St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Queen sent a message from her bedroom and Meghan and Harry were in the bath. Prince Andrew was at the Pizza Express in Woking.

Meghan and Harry look likely to buy the former home of Mel Gibson in Malibu for US$15 million (12 million GBP).  The home has two separate swimming pools (HERS and his), a private gym and five acres of private grounds. It also has a collection of kilts and swords left over from the filming of Braveheart. Before Gibson, the house belonged to X-Files X David Duchovny.

Meghan and Harry have also launched their new brand, having being required to abandon their old Sussex Royal moniker. The new brand is Archewell. Gripping isn’t it. It is based on the Greek word “arche”, meaning action. Nothing to do with their son’s name Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. Could have fooled me. Harry has also started up his travel business – Travalyst (he rejected Travails). It is going to specialize in travel  to places that have meaning – you know, Huddersfield, Barnsley, Skipton and Climax, Saskatchewan.

14th April

Someone asked me what it would take to get Alberta “open again”. Good question and my answer is that I am not at all sure. But here are 10 things that occur to me. I share these in the spirit of exploration – add, subtract, change. But this is not a matter of days..(as some think) or of political courage. It’s about wellbeing and health:

1. The number of new cases needs to drop by 15-20% and the number of deaths from COVID-19 needs to fall by 50% or more.

2. Large scale daily testing needs to be possible with a fast analysis of test data. Every worker in essential services and those permitted to return to work should be tested daily and be required to self-isolate if the results are positive.

3. Alberta needs to pass appropriate laws and ensure that the technology is available for fast traceability of those who display symptoms – we need to be able to test everyone that person came in contact with for COVID-19 as quickly as possible. This raises significant privacy and security issues.

4. Schools, colleges and universities should not re-open until January 2021 when the first and possible second wave of COVID-19 passes. While the “argument” for K-12 opening in September is that the majority in those in school are in less vulnerable groups and many do not have underlying conditions, this is not the case for all learners and all teachers and support and administrative staff. The virus has killed people under 18 and will do so again. Everyone is the school is both a potential carrier and has connections to people (parents, grandparents) who are vulnerable.

5. Face masks must be worn by all in public places – these need to be provided to all Albertan’s. Gloves may also be needed for certain public activities.

6. Not all should be able to return to work. Gradually, restrictions should be lifted by adding to the essential services list and by location, based on the best scientific evidence and advice available. This is not just a political / economic matter. It is primarily about public health and wellbeing.

7. Re-opening should not be seen as a “on/off” switch for the whole of Alberta. Some communities may re-open sooner than others on the basis of the incident of the virus (cases) and consequences (death and recovery rates) – Athabasca may open before Okotoks and Okotoks before Calgary.

8. Governments, on the advice of public health, should be ready to lock down again if a spike in new cases / deaths begins to be seen.

9. Until a vaccine is developed, tested, approved and becomes widely available sometime in 2021 social-distancing with protection, testing, traceability and limited work activity (fewer hours, rotating locations) may need to be considered.

10. No politician should put the economy and GDP growth before wellbeing and wellness. Governments need, before any attempt to re-open Alberta, a new financial and economic strategy driven by a Wellbeing Budget, Health and Happiness (look to New Zealand). Time for a fundamental shift. Anyone who promises a “return to the old Alberta” or “the Alberta advantage” needs to shut up. The new Alberta advantage is the best health care system in the world, free access to education and more education rather than less. Investments in community should come before tax breaks for profitable companies and risk investments in oil and gas.

Observations welcome…

15th April

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Winston Churchill said, ‘now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”. Feels about right.

The idea that 5G masts and 5G networks are spreading COVID-19 is about as sensible as suggesting that eating marmalade causes pregnancy or that wearing red socks leads to deafness. But some really believe this nonsense – Woody Harrelson (actor), Amir Khan (boxer), Lucy Watson (reality TV star) and many others amongst them. We all know this pandemic was caused by listening to Rush Limbaugh and watching the big Orange Buffon on TV.

David Stephan, an Alberta father, who was charged with the death of his toddler son for failing to seek professional medical care, says the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax, meant to bring on “fancy new vaccines.” This ignorant duss-bucket realizes, because he can read, how nonsensical and idiotic these statements are. But he carries on being an attention seeking dufus. He’s not alone, but his thinking and behaviour are dangerous and evil as we all saw.

OPEC has agreed to cut global production of oil by 9.7% to restore world prices, though demand is very low during the global lock-down. Trump claims he brokered the deal. Saudi claims they did. Putin claims he did. But we all know that Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, was the real broker here. Why? Because he thinks he did. The cuts are smaller than needed to really impact price with the world now awash in oil. Worse, the Saudi’s are ignoring the deal and are adding new supply to the market.

Just as film and TV companies begin to commission pandemic based dramas for 2021, as if we want to watch more about this dire experience, publishers are bracing to receive hundreds of novels written during the lock down by first time writers who can’t write.  More Fifty Shades of Toast or Bob Honey Who Just Does Stuff Around the House, or She Stoops to Play Conquers or Naked Came the Milkman, or Fun with Vacuum Cleaners. Those who read manuscripts will need medical assistance and treatment for despair. I suspect the competition for the worst novel of the year will be a hot competition in 2021.

Trump’s daily briefings are getting out of hand. Rambling, bombastic and ignorant. They are replacing his campaign rallies as a way of speaking to his base. He uses these events to channel Fox News and they use them to boost channel viewing numbers – true codependency. On the average day he will tell between 3-5 lies or untruths (over 18,000 lies or untruths since taking office). He claims that he has absolute authority at a time like this. The US constitution says otherwise, as do various governors. There was a time when the President of the USA and the village idiot were two different people.

Speaking of idiocy, payments urgently needed by families are being held up in the US while the Feds print Trump’s name on the cheques. Historically, this may lead to them not being honoured by the banks.

April 17th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Captain Tom Moore will be 100 years old at the end of April. He had the idea of walking 100 laps of his garden (he needs a walker to make any steps) to raise funds for the UK’s health service staff. He could manage 10 laps a day. He hoped to be able to raise £1,000. He has now raised £17.7 million (CAN$31 million). He is a Yorkshireman from Keighley, though now lives in Bedford. Say no more. (My father – we’re from Bradford in West Yorkshire – used to say that “the definition of a Yorkshireman is that we speak our mind, even if there is nothing in it!”).

Ellen deGeneres, who has a net worth in excess of $330 million and a catch phrase of “be kind to one another”, turns out to be as mean as a smoked catfish. Her production company crew of thirty have heard almost nothing from management during the lock-down and now discover that their pay is to be cut by 60%. She has also hired outside contractors to shoot the show that airs from her home as other episodes are played on repeat – just four of her own crew work on the outside broadcast from her home. “Be kind to one another” is not something she is doing here. In contrast, Jimmy Kimmel is paying his crew from his own pocket and other shows are paying their staff the full rate of pay.

Kim Jong Un didn’t show at the annual gathering to remember his grandfather Kim Il Sung, who died in 2011 – celebrated as The Day of the Sun. This grandson is obese, drinks heavily and has other addictions (killing people is one). He is a prime candidate for COVID-19. Pyongyang officials deny he is ill. His sister Kim Yo Jong wasn’t there either. Hey Ho Some.

President Trump (with his new grey hair) indicated that the COVID-19 virus may have originated in a virology lab in Wuhan China. No convincing evidence that this is the case, even though it’s an idea getting traction.  Indeed, the genomic evidence is clear: the virus was not created in a lab. He has not yet bought into the idea that it’s all due to 5G network towers or that smokers are largely immune. It’s just a matter of time before he blames Obama and suggests that Jo Biden is a carrier or that socialism is another form of COVID-19.

In the last month, Facebook flagged just over 40 million posts that contained totally false information about COVID-19. This is a mere fraction of what is out there. Only a few of these came from Trump, his most recent being the statement that the virus has passed its peak in the US and that some places could now re-open “literally tomorrow”. No one is sure which virus he is talking about, but it is not COVID-19.

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has sacked his health minister Luiz Mandetta
after a stand-off between the two men over radically different views of the pandemic. One sees capital accumulation and supporting the rich as more important than human life and the other puts human life above all else. The President wants people to die to line the pockets of his friends (all five of them) while the health minister, for reasons beyond the President’s understanding, put the health of people first. One had to go. The wrong one went.

Ivanka Trump – the President in waiting and special advisor on matters involving smiling a lot and selling handbags – took off from Washington with her husband Jared Kushner to celebrate Passover in Bedminster, New Jersey. They went to a Trump golf club and had a party. Social distancing was between 11 and 17 inches and role modelling the guidance her both she and her father has been telling everyone to follow was zero – no masks were worn, people were hugged and kissed. One law for us, another for “them”.  A chip off the old block.

Ivanka and Jared Kushner are also members of the President’s Council to Re-Open America. So we are in safe hands. After all, Jared has already solved the Middle East crisis, settled all issues with China, cured cancer and lined his pocket. They are part of great casting – Wilbur Ross, Larry Kudlow, Steve Mnuchin, Robert Lighthizer and Mark Meadows. So pleased to see no one with any expertise in anything – health, epidemiology, social work, community development – involved.  America is in such good hands.

As we consider returning to work, a doctor in China – Zhang Wenhong – has suggested that we should sit near the people we dislike the most so as to facilitate social distancing. In the Trump Whitehouse this means anyone can sit next to anyone else, since they are all at war with each other. Also no one wants to sit next to Prince Andrew at the Pizza Express in Woking.

To no one’s surprise, the pipeline Albertan’s now own a big chunk of (we have $1.5 billion in cash and a liability for 81% of the Keystone XL pipelines) has been blocked from development by a judge in Montana. This is not as a result of “foreign interference” – it was a case everyone knew was coming and is based on genuine environmental concerns.  A second case brought by First Nations groups in the US will also be heard. No peace pipe then.

April 20th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening….

[Update: In the UK, Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising for the UK NHS has now surpassed £26 million – CAN$45.5 million]

Ronald Reagan once said “politics is the second oldest profession. I am beginning to think that it bears a close resemblance to the first”. Prostitution is alive and well as we saw with the TV appearances of Dr. Phil McGraw and Dr. Oz – both are now experts on everything – providing advice on when to re-open the US economy on Fox News. Dr. Phil is no longer recognized as a professional psychologist by any professional body (he has no license to practice) and Dr. Mehmet Oz has been asked to quit his roles in medicine. In fact. Dr. Oz is the recipient of the James Randi Pigasus Award for doing more harm and good. 1,300 doctors have signed a letter asking him to quit as a Professor of Medicine on the grounds that he no longer understands what science is.  Both have demonstrated an inability to identify boundaries between what they really know and “babbly nonsense for money” (aka as bullshit for cash).

Despite the scientific and professional advice, parts of the US are starting to re-open. Beaches in Florida opened on April 17th and other parts of the country are starting to open in phases with continuing restrictions – Texas, Vermont, Montana, Minnesota among then. The growingly grey and bilious Trump is fermenting insurrection by demanding that States reopen, even though State Governors have the final power and authority to make these decisions. He is supporting anti-lock-down protestors (aka as Covidiots Together). At the heart of the challenge is the absence of sufficient efficient and effective testing. COVID-19 will determine consequences. The US is approaching peak idiocy.

Protests about the lock-down are widespread in the US. One emergency room doctor has suggested that each protestor should be required to forgo their rights to medical treatment for COVID-19 – since they have deliberately put themselves in harm’s way. Collective rights versus individual rights are challenging issues.

One idea that has had to be ditched is that of “immunity passports”. Those who have recovered from COVID-19 were to be given one, at least in the UK. It would permit them to wander about. Now it is known that having had COVID-19 does not lead to immunity the whole idea turns into nonsense. Patients who recovered from COVID-19 are now being readmitted to hospitals with a second round of this virus.

One worry, as an almost 70-year-old, is that severe restrictions will be placed on “elderly” people (which could include me) – more severe than might apply to younger people – i.e. those not yet 70. The rationale is that we are more likely to die and, more specifically, do so in the health system and cost money (remember – flattening the curve is about management resources in the health care system). Very specifically: those in eldercare may find themselves isolated and alone, except for those who are paid to care for them, for a year or more. We will all be required, sooner or later, to wear masks and protective gloves when “out” – fine. But other restrictions will make life difficult for many in my wonderful age group – the engaged, fun, smart but old. Just because we have lived a full life doesn’t mean that we have given up doing so!

I had been wondering why Kellyanne Conway was so quiet. She has been reading. It enabled her to come up with the stunning line “This is COVID-19. You would think the WHO would be better prepared by now – it’s not COVID-1!” as if they had eighteen attempts to get this right. (Following convention, the virus is named after the year in which it was first identified). Shows how smart she is! Bet her hubby George is ever so proud.

Growing up in Yorkshire in the 1950’s , 60’s and 70’s (I was in Wales from 1969 – 1985), the Leeds United and England player Norman Hunter was a legend.  Once asked what the secret of his playing was he said “get your defence in first! Don’t wait for the player on the other side to get the ball!!!” Legend. Now sadly dead at 76 from COVID-19.

23rd April

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…..

Prince Harry and his wonder woman Meghan have told the British tabloid press that they will no longer be a “currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion”. Instead, they are going to be poster children for the woke, weird and wonderful. I doubt the Mirror, Mail and Express or the Sun will pay any attention. Not many others care either.

The last cruise ship to set sail before COVID-19 blighted the cruise line business docked on Monday in Marseilles after six weeks at sea with a full crew and passengers on board. The last time anyone got off for a pad around the shore was in Wellington, New Zealand. Some 1500+ passengers have been on board for the full six weeks. No one has reported any symptoms of COVID-19. Rather than self-isolating, the crew and passengers collectively isolated – seeking to leverage the resources of the ship and managing their own fun and entertainment. At the theatre on the shop, pictures were taking and posted on twitter as from “the only working theatre on earth!”.

Israel finally has a government. Netanyahu and Gantz have agreed for form a national unity government, with Netanyahu in power for the next 18 months as Prime Minister with a promise he will then step down. In favour of Gantz (unless he is imprisoned first).

Various musical icons performed from the homes under the management of Lady Gaga. Paul McCartney (who really should retire), the Stones, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Celine Dion (who needs to eat more sausages), Beyoncé and more. The highlight was, of course, Charlie Watts who drummed for the stones without any drums present. In fact, he was using some really smart modern technology – Aerodrums – to play his virtual drumkit and didn’t need the actual skins on a drum. Looked weird. Like Madonna signing without notes – which she does sometimes.

The price of West Texas Crude oil fell below zero on Monday 20th April  (WTI was trading at -$37.63 at one point) as the market was saturated with oil contracts which sellers dumped even before the oil arrived. This day was close to the anniversary of the first full year of the UCP Alberta government – aka the One Track Pony Kakistocracy.  Their entire economic strategy was based on re-energizing investment in oil. Such a spectacular failure. Every government since Premier Lougheed has attempted to both secure the oil and gas sector as a basis for growing a more diversified economy. This group of neo-liberals economic fascists got rid of all supports for film and television, green energy, technology based firms and others so as to give $4.7 billion away in tax benefits to already profitable corporations and invest in a pipeline that is now blocked from construction on its chosen route – a widely anticipated decision. Meanwhile, they have attacked nurses, doctors, teachers and public servants, as well as orchestrated the biggest ever lay-off of workers in Canadian history. They are about as smart as a tube of dust or a packet of second hand tacos.

Sir Richard Branson is asking the UK government to bail out Virgin Atlantic. This airline is largely owned by two companies nothing to do with Branson – Delta Airlines and Air France who, between them, own 80%. Virgin Group – a ramshackle bag of companies – owns 20%. He has offered up Necker Island as collateral, which is about as good as him offering his beard and a sock drawer. Virgin Australia has already filed for bankruptcy – Virgin has a 10% stake in the Australian business, with most of this company being owned by Nanshan Group, HNA, Singapore Airlines and Etihad. Other airlines are also in deep trouble. Branson is asking Australians to bail them all out. When in trouble, capitalists turn socialist and then battle the state.

It has been a tough week in terms of awarding the COVIDIOT of the WEEK prize. Lots of entries, including a favourite of an end the lock down protestor carrying a sign saying “Get a Brian – Morans” – we all need a Brian in our lives. In the end it came down to a choice between the Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman, who wanted to open up her city so that we could see what would happen if we ended social distancing right now and the Lt. Gov of Texas who, in suggesting we end of the lock-down and social distancing now because “there are more important things than life”. By a narrow margin, Dan Patrick of Texas wins this week’s prize (if he is still alive to collect it). Donald Trump came third, fourth and fifth.

25th April

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…..

[Update: Captain Tom Moore, who is now in the Guinness Book of Records for raising the most money as an individual for a charity walk ($49 million), is also #1 in the UK Pop Charts for his single of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with Michael Ball. He will be 100 years old on 30th April.]

The daily TV reality show that has replaced Jerry Springer – The White House Coronavirus Briefing – is badly produced and poorly scripted.  Just this week the Director of the CDC (Robert Redfield) went off script and told the truth, much to the disgust and fury of the show’s host and chief barker, Donald Trump who is in charge if lies and talking in tongues. The issue was whether there will be a second wave of the virus (yes) and whether it will likely be worse than the first (yes) – the Trumpkin said this was all nonsense and fake news, but was contracted by science, truth and data. He hates that.

The US has banned immigration except for undocumented immigrants needed urgently on farms and people that the President knows personally or are friends of Ivanka and Jared. President Trump made clear “American jobs are for Americans”, except when Americans don’t want to do them – like becoming Trump’s wife.

Prince Edward Island will start to open back up on May 1st. PEI has had no new COVID cases since April 15th. Of the 26 confirmed cases, 23 have recovered. Schools will re-open probably in June on a staggered schedule. Travel to New Brunswick could be permitted as early as July.  Friends living in PEI are excited and thrilled, but then they will do anything to get away from Anne of Green Gables.

In the State of New York people can now legally marry using Zoom (until May 11th). Given the security issues with this video conferencing software, one woman has been married to a group of men meeting to plan the return of the National Hockey League. “I didn’t really know what I was doing”, she said. Prince Andrew, who is still in the Pizza Express in Woking, is lurking on Zoom ever hopeful.

Joe Biden, the presumptive DNC candidate for President of the US, continues to disappoint. He has no real presence right now, despite the daily opportunity for him to demonstrate statesmanship, integrity and a passion for the real people of America. Trump’s bombastic, reality-tv, lie-driven populism should be a daily gift, but Biden is absent. I am still of the view (sadly) that Trump will win a second term. I know this for a fact – a Russian computer expert, Vladimir, told me they had arranged for it to happen.

According to the UK’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), a year of adult life is worth $35,000 to $52,000. I have written to my Prime Minister and promised to do absolutely nothing with my life for the next twenty years and asked them to send me a cheque for $900,000 so I can pay off my liquor bill.

Borish Johnson, sometime Prime Minister of Britain, will return to work on Monday. He has been resting at Chequers Court, the country home of Prime Ministers. It is located between Princess Risborough and Wendover at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. His fiancé has been with him. He made a call to Donald Trump, which set back his recovery by several days. Trump said that he expected Boris to sound gaga, since not only has he been so ill but he is also a journalist, but was surprised to hear him sound intelligent, alert and capable – competencies he has not encountered of late amongst his own top White House team.

The much loved COVIDIOT prize this time around goes to the Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, who clearly needs a haircut, pedicure and tattoo. He is opening large parts of his state as of now so that people can “get back to work”, including these “close contact” businesses.  A big “forever Trump” supporter, he must have been surprised when Trump dumped all over him for doing this. “I was only following your orders,” he is reported to have said. He is also opening massage parlours, which might entice Trump to change his mind”, said Stormy Daniels, the President’s spokesperson on matters involving body rubs.

President Trump wins this weeks’ special Darwin Acceleration Award. He advised citizens to inject themselves with bleach, the deeper cleanser, which “will clean the lungs out” (and will also kill you). His next advice is to inject yourselves three times a day with a Vindaloo sauce, which will clear everything else out. His comments have lead Nancy Pelosi so ask congress to imbleach him.

26th April – 8 CD’s I Couldn’t Live Without

I was asked to name 8 CD’s I couldn’t really live without. Very interesting question, which I struggled with as I looked over my seemingly excessive collection. My conclusion – always carry a device with Apple Music on it! But here are the eight I ended up with:

  1. Mendelsohn Octet – it has so many memories (I have been at eleven performances and have listened to it a thousand times) and still evokes a real sense of joy and happiness. It is difficult to believe he was just sixteen when he finished writing this in 1825! Never underestimate what young people are capable of!
  2. Mozart – Requiem. I sang in this as a high school student (St. Bede’s and St. Joseph’s combined choir). Wonderful.
  3. Handel – Messiah (1751 Version). I sang in this too and have been to over 100 performances, including most recently at the Dubai Opera House in 2019. It is so brilliantly constructed. (I don’t especially like the new Andrew Davis version, which he re-orchestrated). I have fourteen separate recordings (told you I was a collector).
  4. J S Bach – St. John Passion. I did not sing this, but would have loved to have done so (my voice went one afternoon at a rugby match in which Wales thrashed Scotland and I have not sung in a choir since).  I have a terrific recording with John Elliot Gardiner which I listen to a lot. (Would love to also have Mass in B minor here).
  5. Beethoven – Late String Quartets. I have four sets of these (and three of them are part of the full set of quartets). There is something wonderful about these. When the Dover String Quartet played one in the final of the Banff String Quartet competition (which they won), I was in tears it was so moving.
  6. Pergolesi Stabat Mater. I have been to three performances of this and I listen to this often. Stunningly beautiful – seemingly simple, but yet so rich and compelling.
  7. Sibelius Symphonies. Leif Segerstam’s recordings with the Helsinki Philharmonic are outstanding and so moving, especially the 3rd and the 5th symphonies. Having spent time in Finland (and having had a drink with Leif who is himself a composer – he has written over 335 symphonies, most of which are dreadful) these symphonies are so evocative.
  8. Britten – War Requiem. Growing up in Bradford, we had the wonderful St. George’s Hall where the Halle would perform a series of subscription concerts each year under the baton of Sir John Barbirolli. Between the ages of 13 and 18 I never missed one and I managed to get a ticket for Lynne after we met (when I was 15). One performance I attended was of the Liverpool Philharmonic under the baton of Sir John Wilcox and the joint Bradford choirs (500+ members) singing this masterpiece. Peter Piers sang. Phew. Never forget it.

There were many others that almost made this list – music  by Karl Jenkins (Gloria and Te Deum), music by Palestrina, Busoni, Schumann (string quartets), Schubert (late piano pieces), Bruckner, Haydn, Rachmaninoff (Piano Concerto 3), Chopin, Verdi (Requiem)…….But the ask was for eight I couldn’t live without. There you have it. What are your eight?

April 29th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…..

A variety of sources in China, US and Japan are reporting that Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011, is either dead or brain dead following botched surgery – his doctor was so nervous (shaking, sweating, coughing), he screwed up routine stent surgery and made the world less stable. That’s the story. The real story is that he drank two glasses of Lysol and took some tablets Donald Trump sent him to protect him from Coronavirus. Other sources are saying the big Kim is fine and hiding away from a lurking virus. One possible successor, if he is out of action, is Kim Yo Jong, his younger sister and trusted advisor. Donald Trump may also be shortly available. Whoever it is will face political, social and economic challenges as well as having to deal with China becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of social cohesion and economic stability in North Korea. They have the same concerns about the US.

In Alberta, the UCP Kakistocracy and Most Secret Government has been caught in yet another deception, At the exact same moment as the Minister of Making Money from Healthcare for His Wife back-tracked on his cuts to payments to rural doctors, Municipal Affairs declared over 140 communities as no longer rural. The declassified communities included a rural hamlet called Seven Persons (the clue is in the name). Doctors in these communities will have their pay cut – but, oh no wait, the Minister for His Wife’s Business has now said that this list is a mistake and a new list will soon be issued. I haven’t been able to get to the theatre to watch a farce in a long time, but this will have to do. This shambles of a government has already cancelled the northern allowance, reducing many pay cheques by over $1,000/month. This is all part of a deliberate strategy to treat Alberta as a testbed for the most ridiculous policies you can dream up while sober. More to come.

President Trump is mad. Mad as a hatter. Mad as a turnip on a roast pig. Mad as a chicken on a spit roast. We know this because of a twitter storm he fired up about fake news, Fox news and fart news. He wants all journalists who got them to return their Noble Prizes and any clean socks they have in a drawer marked “news”. What is angering him is journalists who report what he actually says. He thinks this is inappropriate. What he wants them to do is to report what he should have said or really intended.  His poll numbers are falling – in part because those people who follow his advice and do things, like drink Lysol, are dying and in part because it is beginning to dawn on even his most ardent followers that this guy is to the Presidency what a mosquito is to a peaceful night’s sleep. Rather than being a stable genius, he is an unstable twerp who “Lysol the time”.

In Canada, the Federal Conservative Party continues to disappoint. They demand the full recall of parliament, fly on airplanes sitting so close to each other one could actually hear the brain they share between them tick. They are offering no statements about then post-COVID-19 Canada that can be taken seriously and instead the presumptive leader, Peter McKay, is championing gun rights. This is about as useful right now as me championing chewing gum. In contrast, the new leader of the UK’s loyal opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, is building alliances and coalitions aimed at reshaping Britain after the lock-down while also sorting out the anti-Jewish mess within the UK Labour Party.  Time to for big boy pants and real leadership.

In Britain people are in their spare rooms celebrating. Boris Johnson’s fiancé Carrie Symonds has given birth to a baby boy – Boris’s sixth (or maybe seventh) child. No official announcement about the name yet, but apparently calling him Covid has been ruled out. Also off the table are Poseidon, Artemis and Tyche. Downing Street is wary of asking the British public to offer suggestions, given the debacle over naming a warship Boaty McBoat face. Boris favours Winston.

There is also celebration over Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding anniversary – they have been married nine years. A productive time – three children, seen off the brother and his wife and have positioned themselves well for the succession after King Charles and Lady Camilla. Popular with the punters, William is seen as “the sensible one”. Unlike some of his uncles – Andrew is still at the Pizza Express in Woking and no one can remember what Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, looks like (for those interested, he looks just like Princess Anne without hair).

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…..

A variety of sources in China, US and Japan are reporting that Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011, is either dead or brain dead following botched surgery – his doctor was so nervous (shaking, sweating, coughing), he screwed up routine stent surgery and made the world less stable. That’s the story. The real story is that he drank two glasses of Lysol and took some tablets Donald Trump sent him to protect him from Coronavirus. Other sources are saying the big Kim is fine and hiding away from a lurking virus. One possible successor, if he is out of action, is Kim Yo Jong, his younger sister and trusted advisor. Donald Trump may also be shortly available. Whoever it is will face political, social and economic challenges as well as having to deal with China becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of social cohesion and economic stability in North Korea. They have the same concerns about the US.

In Alberta, the UCP Kakistocracy and Most Secret Government has been caught in yet another deception, At the exact same moment as the Minister of Making Money from Healthcare for His Wife back-tracked on his cuts to payments to rural doctors, Municipal Affairs declared over 140 communities as no longer rural. The declassified communities included a rural hamlet called Seven Persons (the clue is in the name). Doctors in these communities will have their pay cut – but, oh no wait, the Minister for His Wife’s Business has now said that this list is a mistake and a new list will soon be issued. I haven’t been able to get to the theatre to watch a farce in a long time, but this will have to do. This shambles of a government has already cancelled the northern allowance, reducing many pay cheques by over $1,000/month. This is all part of a deliberate strategy to treat Alberta as a testbed for the most ridiculous policies you can dream up while sober. More to come.

Non Classical CD’s I Can’t Live Without

When I shared my list of 8 CD’s I couldn’t live without, I was asked where are your non-classical music choices? I do like all kinds of music, so here are the 8 non-classical CD’S I play a lot (according to Apple Music / Alexa):

  1. Penguin Café Orchestra – Broadcasting from Home. One of the first avant garde CD’s I bought (1984) and I still love it.
  2. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977). Stunning stuff and still good now.
  3. Alan Parson’s Project – Vulture Culture (1984). Took this with my on the sabbatical in Saskatoon and played it constantly in the car driving to teach in northern Saskatchewan.
  4. Annie Lennox – Nostalgia (2014) – she is still so good – such a talented artist. I also love her Diva album (1992).
  5. Bill Evans – Portrait in Jazz (1960). Difficult to choose just one, but this was the first one of his I owned and I still play this a lot.
  6. Kevin Fox – Songs for Cello and Voice (2008) – he is a wonderful cellist and has a haunting voice. I play this album a lot.
  7. Eurythmics – Ultimate Eurythmics (2005). You have to be of an age, but I am and this is.
  8. Count Basie – Complete Recordings (Box Set). It was either the Count or the Duke and the Count won out (only just). Love the sounds of the big band (as did my dad) and he plays so well. My school friend Peter Sherlock admired him and introduced me to jazz. I will be every grateful to Peter (who could also play a mean piano).

April 30th

Let’s talk a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Captain Tom Moore, the UK army veteran who raised £30 million ($52 million) for the National Health Service, celebrated his 100th birthday on 30th April. Army helicopters a Hurricane and a Spitfire flew by his home in tribute and the Queen appointed him an Honorary Colonel. He is also to be Principal Patron of the Army Training Centre in Harrogate, not far from where he was born in Keighley (and about a mile from where we lived 1998-2003). His recording of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, made with the singer Michael Ball, remains Britain’s top of the pops.

In a just published YouGov poll, 7% of Americans believe that swallowing or injecting a disinfectant is both effective in treating COVID-19 and is harmless. Put another way, 7% of Americans are unable to read the label on such products and understand what it means.  Even worse, some 3% of these 7% hold postgraduate qualifications. As a former university official, I would ask for these degrees be returned on the grounds of being no longer valid.

One the Canadian covidiots is selling a bracelet which prevents 5G signals entering the human body – you can buy it  for $115 from 5Gblocker.ca or from COVIDIOT.COM. I can also sell you one that stops fish and chips being absorbed by baboons in the Cayman Islands through their feet. The science supporting both products was done by the same team, who also are now looking into whether you can get sepsis from listening to Donald Trump tell lies. 

Various parts of the world are “re-opening” but asking people to keep social distancing, wear masks (gloves are pointless) and not to sing sea shanties in public. Some US states / cities are going for the “full re-opening” and others are being more cautious. This will likely trigger the second wave of COVID-19 and stretch health care systems to their limit. The US already lost more individuals to this virus than died in the Vietnam war (1955-1975) and the war against COVID-19 is just beginning. Some of those who protested against the lock-down, now are infected and are calling for better information and healthcare support. President Trump has made clear he will not extend the lock-down rules, which expire 30 April. Jared Kushner, wunderkind and official saviour of the US, has said that, by July, “America will be rocking again”(I think he meant “reeling”)  and that the American response to the spread of the virus “is a great success story” – rather like his plan for peace in the Middle East. Mr. Trump will resume his rallies so that more people can be infected more quickly. He is a very modern model of a very stable genius.

His Vice President and Chief Sycophant, Mike Pence, visited the Mayo Clinic. Everyone, including all patients he met, wore a mask. Pence didn’t. He said he didn’t because he wanted to look people in the eye. A doctor explained to him how to put on a mask so it doesn’t cover your eyes – just the nose and mouth. He complained later that it was too complicated to put on a mask (so many rules) and that he was immune from the COVID virus because of his thoughts and prayers.

Speaking of Lysol The Time Trump, he has said that he is convinced that China wants him to lose the Presidential election in November. He is mistaken. The entire world wants him to lose the election, especially Americans who can read and remember. While the choice of Joe Biden as the alternative is unfortunate, even a Dachshund with dyed hair would be better than the baboon with dyed hair that occupies the White House now. Trump’s spokesperson, Stormy Daniels, said his comments about China were a form of “premature speculation” (I think that’s what she said).