October 4th

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

Donald Trump and Melania Trump have tested positive for C-19 following Hope Hicks positive test (Hicks is first among his many PA’s). The President was moved to hospital “in an abundance of caution”.  Transparent information about the state of his health is not being made available. Melania will pout and swear, but we will not notice any difference. Given the Presidents age, weight and sloth-like habits, it could be serious. Several people who work with him have also been infected, including three Senators, the Trump campaign manager, Chris Christie and Kellyanne Conway. Doctors are very concerned about his breathing and confused thoughts. The world has been worried about his confused thoughts since 1976.

To help this situation, Donald J Trump (the J is for J-Cloth) Trump’s doctor, who is in fact not a medical doctor but an osteopath (as was Dr Stephen Ward of Christine Keeler fame), is keeping us all misinformed. (By the way, osteopathy is about as medical as rubbing your knee with leaves if your liver has packed in). He told us that Trump is not dead, but will be wonderful if he keeps up his KFC and burger routine and takes the pharma-cocktail of Lysol and bananas.

Rudi Giuliani has tested positive for forty-seven bat related viruses, including Bat Shit Crazy and as Mad as a Bat Hatter. He continues to work as the President’s personal lawyer. He is shouting his advice through the hospital window, along with several other bats.

The White House Press Secretary claimed that Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, was a Rhodes Scholar. She was not. She went to Rhodes College in Tennessee. A Rhodes Scholar is someone awarded a specific scholarship to study at Oxford. Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar as was the late John Turner, Prime Minister of Canada for a few days. This is equivalent to saying that Donald J Trump is an astronaut because he has flown in an aeroplane. One would expect more of Kayleigh McEnany, the Press Secretary, who is a Harvard grad.

In Alberta, Suncor (one of the largest oil companies in Canada with 13,000 employees) has announced that, despite receiving a $1 billion tax break from Jason (Job Killer) Kenney, they are laying off 10-15 of their staff (app. 2,000) over the next fifteen months. The Royal Bank has indicated it will not make any investments in oil, gas or coal in the Arctic and other investors are switching from oil and gas to green energy (which Kenney generally refers to as unicorn farts). The signs are everywhere – the energy transition is real, accelerating and substantial. Alberta’s oil is still needed, but is expensive to produce and still seen as “dirty”. Alberta needs a new economic strategy and we’re not going to get one from a Premier whose mojo is not working.

In Ireland, Subway Sandwiches have been declared taxable since they do not involve bread. The dough used to make the bread is, under Irish law, far too sweet. You are in law eating cake with meatballs and marinara sauce.

In Britain, Lord Charles Moore of Etchingham has indicated that he will not accept the position of Chairman of the BBC for family reasons – his wife can’t stand Huw Edwards and all that Welshness. A Scottish Nationalist MP, Margaret Ferrier, was diagnosed with C-19, got on a train from Glasgow to London to speak in the House of Commons, visited shops, a gym, restaurant and spa before getting back on the train for her four hundred mile journey. This complete COVIDIOT represents Rutherglen and Hamilton West in Scotland. She now represents the Spread-the-Virus Naturally Party.

Borish Johnson met the super smart President of the European Union Commission Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen to try and give the Brexit trade talks some momentum. The key issues remain the ones that have been stumbling blocks since the whole Brexit shenanigans began. Access to Britain’s fishing waters is a critical and challenging issue. Britain has offered a three-year transition period for European fleets to adjust to the fact that they have to meet new rules. The EU doesn’t want to have new rules. They agreed to keep talking with no real prospect of success.

October 8th

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

The West Wing of the White House has fast become World COVID-19 Central. It is a model of selfish recklessness which has characterized the Trump reaction to C-19. Mask-less, handshaking, not social distancing covidiots are breaching their own rules and catching this virus.  Kayleigh McEnany, Press Secretary, has the virus along with two of her staff members. Stephen Miller, the nearest thing Trump has to a Rottweiler, has also tested positive. The President went on a C-19 drive-by for no reason and is now pretending to be “cured” and is back in the infest wing. They held a super-spreader event for Amy Cony Barrett with people not wearing masks and hugging each other. The behaviours we see make the US a cesspit of inept and dangerous behaviour.

Trump says he has a new understanding of C-19 as a result of being in hospital. He also mastered some of the key challenges of quantum computing, which he read about between napping. He was asking if the “quantum” part of any quantum algorithm could be compressed to polylog(n) depth, provided we’re willing to do polynomial-time classical postprocessing? (This is known to be true for Shor’s algorithm.). Ivanka said probably and Mike Pence said whatever Donald wanted. The Donald took off his mask to demonstrate his understanding of just how serious C-19 is and told people not to be afraid of C-19 – just be afraid of stupid people who pretend to run the US.

The White House (aka as Putinvid-19) has broken off negotiations with the Democrats over a new stimulus package “until after Trump wins election”. This could be the Ivanka Trump election coming in 2029. It is a sign of insanity gripping the White House where the Emperor has no clothes and is clearly infected with a mind-altering disease.

Mike Pence, who is to politics what the Pope is to world rugby, debated Kamala Harris in the Vice Presidential debate., supported by a fly. So excitable was he that he had to be kept behind plexiglass. Once again, I missed the debate due to having to sharpen some pencils, but I gather it was somewhat better than the recent Presidential debate, though rather pointless. John McCain, when he was being considered for the VP job when G W Bush ran in 2004, said “I spent several years in a north Vietnamese prison camp in the dark, fed with scraps. Do you think I want to do that all over again as vice president of the United States?”. Quite.

The aptly named No Time to Die movie – Daniel Craig’s last appearance as 007 – cinema release has been delayed for a second time. It may now be shown in April 2021 – clearly, it is not the right time to die now. This delay triggered the immediate closure of Cineworld’s theatres – the world’s second largest chain of cinemas – in the US, UK and Ireland. It lost over $1.6 billion last quarter.  Other movies – Death on the Nile, West Side Story and Black Widow – are also significantly delayed. 

Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven is definitely a Led Zeppelin owned song. The US Supreme Court refused to hear a copyright infringement case which would, if the decision was to say that it was in fact “copied”, cost the band millions. Heaven is alive and well.

A great musician, Eddie van Halen, has died following a battle with cancer. A stunning guitarist and magical performer, he revolutionized the genre and made a real difference to how guitarist perform. RIP. Also dead, Johnny Nash whose song “I can see clearly now” might become Joe Biden’s anthem on November 4th.

I was chuffed to be awarded an Honorary degree in 2000, but imagine a colleague winning the Nobel prize for Medicine! This is what happened to Professor Michael Houghton of the University of Alberta, who was one of the trio who defined the virology of hepatitis C. What a wonderful thing to happen. Congratulations!

October 11th

Time for some reflection about how I am spending my time in this very strange time. We did manage to get away – Bowen Island in BC and Vancouver – for a few days, but we’re back in a confined environment staying within our bubble.

I am reading a lot. London Review of Books, The Spectator, lots of books with a strong future focus and newspapers / magazines about our world. The latter are sometimes depressing, especially when we explore the implications of C-19 on global wellbeing and health.

I am listing to a lot of music – no bad thing. I use The Gramophone and BBC Music magazines to suggest music I should listen to and I have a hugs collection of actual CD’s and music on iTunes. Lots of established composers but new recordings (Haitink’s Bruckner symphones), lots of music which is new to me like Balakirev’s complete piano music or Rosner’s Requiem as well as familiar recordings. Each day I spend deliberate and dedicated time to listening.

I am cooking with the intent of expanding my repertoire. Persian dishes, a really rich-lush goulash last night and lots of curry, fish dishes and veggie dishes (Eggplant Stacks).

I am writing. I do this for a living (and do well) but I also write for pleasure. My blog (here) is written as a way of making me think about what is happening but to do so with a lense of some satire. I share this here and on Facebook so that I can better understand.

I have also been working on my sleep. Just over a year ago I asked my very smart doctor Maria what I should do. I now wear an Apple Watch and use the sleep tracker. I have gone from around 4 hours to closer to 7 with more deep and REM sleep. I use “breathe” to get to sleep and have a story I use to create a narrative which is now linked to sleep. I still take a nap in the afternoons – around an hour – which also helps.

I don’t find C-19 and its limitations overly problematic, except in terms of seeing our grandchildren and family who are taking needed precautions. We’re also “old” (72 and 69.95) and need to take care too. But life is rich and full.

October 11th

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

Worldwide, C-19 has now infected the equivalent of the population of Canada and has killed the equivalent of the entire population of the City of Edmonton. In the US, C-19 has infected the equivalent of every person in Virginia and has killed the equivalent of the entire population of Spokane.

Speaking of Edmonton, C-19 cases are on the rise and there is advice to limit contact outside of the household bubble, which is tough as Thanksgiving in Canada is today and tomorrow. We currently have 1,085 cases, 39 in hospital and 4 in intensive care. Our R number is 1.3 and needs to get below 1.  83 have died.

Donald J Trump (the J is for Jesus complex) says that his C-19 was a “gift from God” and wants everyone to know that it is no big deal – no comfort to the 215,000 + and the 7.75 million infected in the US. Saying he feels “perfect” and “fantastic” and the he is now “immune”. In doing so he is revealing the damage the virus can do to mental health and sanity. He has tested negative for IQ. He remains in the Infest Wing of the White House and has refused to debate Joe Biden remotely on 15th October but will start holding more super spreader events this week.  Mike Pence is now being represented by a fly.

Thirteen men have been arrested in Michigan for doing exactly what Donald J Trump suggested: “liberating” Michigan by trying to kidnap its democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer. They had planned to capture her, try her for treason and then execute her while fermenting civil war in the US. These super-smart people with guns and beards, who were under observation by the FBI throughout the summer when they were plotting, follow both Trump and Q-Anon and hold views which would make both Stalin and Hitler proud. Fascism is alive and well in the US, fermented by an increasingly demented President. So demented is he that congress is planning to look at how it can invoke the 25th amendment. Mike “The Fly” Pence has cancelled public engagements and is on stand-by in Washington.

The US Senate begins its exploration of whether Amy Coney Barrett can become a US Supreme Court judge for the rest of her life. Hearings will go on until Thursday. Democrats are furious, but they were with the other two SCOTUS nominations which were pushed through by Moscow Mitch McConnell.

France is insisting that it retain the same access to UK fishing waters as it enjoys now, ignoring the change in the UK’s status as a nation disconnected from the EU. This is the same as guaranteeing access of UK wine makers to the grapes of Provence. Britain is not having it. Britain also wants freedom to offer subsidies to industry sectors that may or may not confirm to EU rules and the EU is saying “non” or “nein”, depending in whom you are talking to. If no agreement is reached by October 15th, then Borish Johnson will pull the plug on the negotiations.

On 17th October, the New Zealand election will end. Current predictions are for a majority for Jacinda Arden’s Labour Party, though some pollsters suggest there may be a need for some form of coalition, probably with the Green Party. Jacinda remains incredibly popular and is by far the first choice of the majority for Prime Minister. The opposition parties are in various stages of disarray, especially the New Zealand First party (yes, really), which looks like being on the verge of a total wipe-out. Jacinda will win, despite the portrayal of her on Spitting Images as a Mary Poppins character with an over-bite.

Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den calls himself “Mr. Wonderful”. He actually does so on an ad promoting a new crowdsourced based venture fund, Start Engine. His business history is not wonderful or even good. He is to Canadian business what Donald Trump is for the US – a performer with a nice line in suits. He is more of a celebrity than a business man. It is important to note that he is not the lead man in Start Engine – he has some shares and is a strategic advisor, mainly on the promotional and communication side. The good news is that he seems to have given up on the idea of leading a political party in Canada.

In an obituary in the Globe and Mail yesterday for Beth Bailey from London, Ontario her family wrote: “Life is the simple gathering of human kindnesses. Life is not always fair, but is beautiful”. Happy thanksgiving.

October 14th

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

A fierce conflict in Azerbaijan over Armenian controlled territories is leading to death and destruction. A Russian brokered cease fire is not working. The dispute focuses on the question “who controls Nagorno-Karabakh?”. It will not end well.

President Donald J Trump (the J is for jaundiced) claims he is now immune from C-19. What he is actually immune from is understanding, science, intelligence, reality. He begins a series of super-spreader events this week in an attempt to sow the seeds of doubt about the election and rally his “troops” around him for the fight he wants to have about who won the election. His repeated refusal to say that he will accept the result of the election if he doesn’t win reveals his clear intention to behave like a spoilt child. Tracking all of this is like watching episodes of the Walking Dead backwards with the occasional scene from Outrageous Pumpkins.

The White House Infest Wing has embraced the idea of the US going for herd immunity from COVID-19. It is based on advice from doctors like Dr. I.P. Freely, Dr. Person Fakename, and Dr. Johnny Bananas who all signed a petition calling for young people to be allowed to infect each other while elderly people – defined as those over 75 – receive some protection. Including among the list of doctors recommending this strategy is the UK’s Dr. Harold Shipman who was Britain’s worst serial killer (between 215 and 265 people) and is also dead and has been since 2004.

Melania is still working on her book, now called “I Write F**ing Book”. The title change follows the release of audio tapes of her swearing like a trooper about having to re-do the Rose Garden and having to decorate the Infest Wing for Christmas. She is also missing her toy boy, Hank Siemers, Head of Security at Tiffany’s in Trump Tower who is also married. They have been an “item” for some time, way before the 2016 election.

Amy Cony Barrett, Trump’s nominee for SCOTUS, is an accomplished, articulate and smart woman. Mother of seven and a devout Catholic, she sees the law (as she sees Church teaching) in literal terms – “what does it say?” is her question about the words written in legislation. She is less interested in intention or assumed purpose. She will secure her seat on the court and, in doing so, significantly change the dynamics of the court.

In Alberta the Minister of Health Tyler Shandro Ltd. has promised to cut 11,000 jobs to save $600 million a year from Alberta Health. He also continues to mess with the contractual basis for the employment of doctors. The strategy is to privatize certain aspects of the health service – food services, cleaning, diagnostic testing, laundry – so that his friends and family can make more money. The strange idea that this will “save” Albertan’s money is about as far -etched as suggesting that Tommy Hunter was an opera singer.  The fact that there is a pandemic going on which shows no signs of slowing down (quite the opposite in fact) provides the back-cloth to this move, entirely based on Kenneyomics – which in turn is based on a wing and a prayer.

After a decade in the wilderness, the LA Lakers won their 17th NBA title led by LeBron James who was awarded his fourth MVP title – getting closer to Michael Jordan’s six. In tennis, Rafa Nadal won his 13th French Open title taking his grand slam title total to twenty. Roger Federer also has 20, getting close to the 23 titles held by Serena Williams. Speaking of rivalries, Lewis Hamilton now has the same number of Formula One wins as Michael Schumacher – ninety one. The difference: Hamilton is still racing.

The asteroid that was thought to be heading towards earth turns out not to be. It is in fact a bit of scrap from a rocket launched in 1966 and will likely burn up on entry into the earth’s atmosphere. Panic over. Just one more thing not to worry about in this very strange year. My eldest son is insisting on reading the terms and conditions before agreeing to enter 2021 and I am definitely not investing in a 2021 Year Planner.

Singapore Airlines is serving lunch and dinner on a Dreamliner parked on the tarmac – it goes nowhere. They are offering meal services each day and have sold out. They are also offering home delivery of their meals. Ryanair offered to do the same, but had no takers – you had to pay for the plates, knives and forks as well as the food. Gravy was also extra.

October 17th

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

In France, a teacher has lost his life as a result of exploring the issue of freedom of speech and the meaning of “liberty” in his history class. He showed his students, having asked Muslim students to leave the room, cartoon images of the prophet Mohammed. An eighteen year old Muslim beheaded him in the street shortly after. Shocking.

In Thailand there are serious protests about government and the Monarchy. The protestors want significant change – pushing democracy and changes to the power of the King. The King, who lives in Germany for most of the time, has asked his government to stop the protests and arrest the leaders. Things look tense, especially in Bangkok.

In New Zealand, Labour leader Jacinda Arden has won a clear personal victory in the election this week-end. The world’s leading compassionate leader faces real challenges during the economic recession which has hit NZ for the first time in eleven years. She has secured enough seats to govern without the help of another party – something which has not in New Zealand for twenty-four years – since the introduction of a more complex proportional voting system.

As America stumbles and fumbles its way towards the November 3rd election, an increasingly desperate President supported by the deplorable GOP operatives is out offering COVID-19 to all and sundry. Thirty of the fifty US States are heading in the wrong direction in terms of infection rates – 217,155 dead so far but the Trumpkin says “we’re doing fine and we’ve got this thing beat”. I am not sure what thing he’s beating, but it’s not COVID-19. 60,000 new infections each day aided by Trump’s Farewell Tour super-spreader events.

London is again on curfew, together with big chunks of France and Germany. It seems that larger number of people are beyond hope and redemption from covidiocy than was thought. The simple act of wearing a mask, keeping social distance and washing hands appears to be beyond the comprehension and ability of so many of our fellow citizens. In the US the infamous Dr. Fauci is recommending that people not gather for Thanksgiving, which is about as likely as Donald Trump buying a pet dog (he is the first President in fifty years not to have pet dog at the White House).

Brexit talks are going nowhere, and Borish de Pfeffel Johnson has warned all to be ready for a no-deal exit from the EU on December 31st. The stumbling blocks remain the same as they were three years ago when all of this chatterboxing began: fishing, subsidies and product protection. Talks continue, but then talk is cheap.

Alberta’s finance Minister, Travis Towes, seeking to demonstrate total adherence to the austere Kenneynomics and showcasing a level of ineptness beyond redemption, is seeking to balance the Provincial budget over the next decade for no apparent reason. The intention is to force Alberta into recession and sell it to Montana for $1. Having cut 11,000 jobs from health and 20,000 from education and taken over $1 billion from post-secondary education while throwing $10 billion at oil and gas (tax breaks, direct investment and guarantees) they are seeking additional cuts at a time when interest rates are close to negative and Alberta’s economy is in deep trouble. Pushing Alberta deeper into recession, privatizing anything with “public” in its title and causing a general strike are all part of the grand plan. Alberta is a great place full of wonderful people which is now led by donkeys. It needs real leadership and a plan for a growth economy. Not coming from these guys. Even former supporters of Premier Kenney like Paul Hinman (founder of Wildrose) say that he is “the biggest disappointment I’ve ever witnessed”. He has seen nothing yet – much more disappointment yet to come.

October 22nd

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

Over 40 million have already voted in the US Presidential election and there are still 13 days to go. No need to bother voting, according to televangelist Pat Robertson who sad that God (also known as Pat Robertson) had told him that Trump will win and that, about five years later, an asteroid will blow up the earth. This may explain why NASA worked for years at a cost of $1 billion to land OSIRIS-Rex on a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu. The aim is to collect rock samples and bring them back to earth in 2023. They hope that these samples will tell them a lot about the origins of water, life and the Trump species of aliens.

Donald J Trump (the J is for “jackass”) will shout, lie and make up stories alongside Joe Biden tonight in the (thankfully) last “debate” (sic) between the two of them before the election. So as to give a chance for some semblance of coherence, each candidate will have 2 minutes with the microphone of their opponent muted at the start of each section of questions. A better idea would be to mute the microphones of both for the whole time and ask them to communicate by tap dancing and farting, as suggested by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1973 short story The Dancing Fool. Seems appropriate.

The town of Asbestos, some 150kn north of Montreal, has decided to change its name. The new name is Val-des-Sources. Other towns around the world are considering their position, including Climax in Saskatchewan, which thinks its name is unbecoming.

Speaking of climax, Jeffrey Toobin (CNN legal analysts and columnist for the New Yorker) has been suspended from the magazine and taken a leave from CNN after he was seen touching himself inappropriately (aka as masturbating) during a Zoom call with colleagues. He says that he thought he had turned off his camera and microphone, but he hadn’t and whatever he was doing with his bits and pieces was plain for all to see. “It looked like he was on another call or watching something on another computer,” said a colleague. Quite. Lawyers – always trying to pull a fast one.

As was the President’s personal lawyer, Rudi Giuliani, whom Borat (aka as the comedian and film maker Sacha Barron Cohen) filmed trying to seduce a young lady actress posing as Borat’s daughter – he had his hands down his pants as part of the new Borat movie. Another lawyer! Where is Stormy Daniels when she’s needed?

Despite the ten sitting  democrats refusal to play the game, the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted 12-0 to move Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination for the vacant SCOTUS seat to the full Senate.   There will be a vote before the election which will likely confirm her, unless more Senators are diagnosed with C-19. At 43 she could be on the Court for forty to fifty years.

Pope Francis, repeating what he said when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aries, made clear that he supports same sex civil partnerships. While this goes against the traditional position of the Catholic Church, his basis for the statement is simple: all are children of same sex couples deserve happiness and a family life – it is what God would wish for them. He had several times during his papacy that he does not judge the person by their sexuality but looks instead to their spirit and their compassion.

A woman died of C-19 during a flight in Arizona. Say no more. She had underlying conditions, but the official diagnosis is C-19. Come on US you can do better than 60,00 new cases a day, 8 million cases so far and 221,700 dead.  In the UK, over 9 million people are on lock-down in various parts of the country and C-19 second wave storms the country – 26,700 positive cases a day and app. 190 dying each day.

The Amazing James Randi, magician and disillusionist, has died at home in Florida. He made his reputation, initially as a magician and escapologist, but later as someone who debunked parapsychologists, healers and Uri Geller and others.  A remarkable and exceptionally clever man, he exposed hundreds of fraudsters. He said that he wished to be cremated and his ashes blown in Uri Geller’s face as a final statement of his contempt. He married his partner Mr. Peña (whose real name is José Alvarez) and they lived together first in New Jersey and then in Florida. He was 92. RIP to a legend.

October 25th

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

Alberta’s Adriana LaVery Strange, who claims to be the Minister of Education, at the behest of Jason Kenney, appointed a panel of mountebanks and wherewithal’s to advise her on what the provincial curriculum should look like for our schools. She wanted to ensure that our children had a sound education, as if this was not already happening (Alberta consistently ranks amongst the best in education in the world). Leaked documents tell us that the plan is to remove any reference to residential schools or equity and instead have students study feudalism (soon coming back to a community near you), the Roman Empire and Chinese Dynasties, creationism and be able to recite passages from the Bible (but not the Quran, Torah, The Vedas, or the Theravada). Curriculum reform is long overdue – students are still asked to examine whether colour film is better than black and white film when doing landscape photography and the science curriculum is so outdated that it doesn’t deal with key topics in bioscience. But these changes are intended to take us back to Victorian times – an era which our current government admires.

Jason Kenney, who tells us he is Premier of Alberta but we all know he is a front man for a group of car dealers and energy CEO’s, is self-isolating because one of his Ministers – Tracy Allard – has tested positive for C-19.  Also isolating are the Minister of Transport (he’s going nowhere) and three MLA’s. Alberta is a hot-spot for C-19 in Canada. There are currently 23,12 active cases across Canada – 3,372 in Alberta. Alberta had over 400 active cases in a single day. Come on fellow Albertan’s – smarten up!

Apparently, there was a debate between Donald J Trump (the J is for jittery) and Joe Biden last Thursday and no one was surprised by anything said, not said or lied about. No dancing bears appeared and Trump’s attempt to tell a joke failed, but then he is one. 90 minutes of blah blah. The moderator carefully used her power to mute the microphones, so it was a little more dignified than the circus barking first debate. The only excitement came at the end, when Melania appeared to reject Trump’s hand as they left the stage. Trump lied or told partial truths every 98 seconds. Over 47 million have already cast their ballots – far more than cast their ballots before election day in 2016. Trump has a few more events scheduled on his farewell tour.

Donald J Trump has a bank account in China and has paid more taxes to the Chinese government over the last ten years than he has done to the US government $188,561 versus $1,500. A Dacha just outside Moscow is almost ready for his arrival in January.

Melania and The Donald will host a Halloween Party for front line workers and their families: “Come for the candy, leave with the plague” is the theme for this super-spreader event.

As the UK in general starts to lock-down bits and pieces of the federation at random (Warrington just went into Tier 3 lock-down), Wales has completely lost the plot and locked down the entire Principality for two weeks. The Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has ordered supermarkets only to sell essential goods – food, booze and cigarettes – as the whole of the Principality stops singing. Clothes and hairdryers, pots and pans and knickers are not to be sold. The good news is the faggots and peas and lava bread remain widely available and you can always get pints of Brains (very good beer).

Brexit trade talks, on and off all week, are back on with the same issues – subsidies, fishing, Ireland – still on the burner. They will meet in London over fish and chips and some Scottish whisky.

Nov 2-9 is Sherry Week in the UK. Let’s make it a global thing. A small glass every day! Bottoms up! (This is not a reference to Rudi Giuliani!).

October 27th

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

Despite the fact that the core team that surround Vice President Mike Pence have all tested positive for C-19, Mike Pence continues to meet others and campaign for the Trump-Pence ticket. Claiming that he never touches humans and that, given he is not human, he is immune, he happily carries and spreads the virus, which is now the official US policy: spread and be happy.

Donald J Trump (the J is for jittery) walked out of a TV interview when the questions got really tough. “What colour is the Whitehouse?” really got him upset when he didn’t know the answer. “Why are you not doing anything useful to stop the spread of COVID-19?” caused him to blow a blood vessel. “Why do you lie more often than tell the truth?” left have bedazzled (never a good thing).

Amy Coney Barrett is now a member of the US Supreme Court. The Senate approved her nomination by 52 votes to 48 and she was sworn in immediately. She will be the youngest member and could sit as a judge for forty to fifty years.

British Columbia has elected an NDP government. Premier John Horgan, who had run BC through a coalition, is now forming his majority government. The Liberals (who are to liberalism what sugar is to diabetics) lost significant ground – losing 12 seats. All three party leaders won their seats. Saskatchewan also held an election and no real change occurred – Scott Moe won his first election as Premier and his party won a fourth term in office. Not much happens in Saskatchewan.

Chaos continues in lock-down Britain, where tiers for fears rule. The backlash is huge and Borish is considering cutting quarantine from fourteen days to seven unless your Welsh or Dominic Cummings or live in Barnard’s Castle. In Wales, the supermarket rules – you can only sell / buy essentials – are under review following total confusion as to what is essential and what is just “nice to have” – caviar or saffron, for example. Some  covidiot Minister’s staff member decided that tampons were not essential and cannot be sold. The UK test and trace system is about as useful as using a toothbrush to paint the Severn Bridge, yet it is the key to what needs to happen: rapid testing and effective tracing is how successful countries have managed to stay functioning. England couldn’t trace the QE2 if it were being driven across London Bridge.

Pope Francis has created thirteen new cardinals, nine of whom will be able to vote for his successor. They will receive their red hats at a consistory on November 28th . They include the first African-American, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington. Pope Francis has now appointed seventy-six of the one hundred and twenty nine current Cardinal electors (60%). Pope Francis is now XX and is seemingly in good health, despite only having one fully functioning lung. Jockeying for position is always going on – Cardinal Parolin (Secretary of State) is being carefully sidelined by Francis who appears to favour either Cardinal Tagle or Cardinal Zuppi. But the betting seems to favour Tagle (11/2 odds).

Mt. Norquay has opened for ski activities already – the earliest opening in ninety-five years. Using a combination of the real thing and man-made snow (they shave frozen candles with a pen-knife – at least that’s what a four year old neighbour explained to me the other day), it is the first ski-hill to open in Canada this year. It’s the coldest start to October in Alberta in years. Despite this, we had an outdoor celebration for my grand-daughter Lily’s tenth birthday with all grandparents, parents, siblings, a friend and cousins present (it was -5 with a light snow dust falling).    

A local hero – Joey Moss – has died aged 57. A Down Syndrome man who had worked in the dressing room of the Edmonton Oilers dressing room for many years and was part of the “glue” of the team and a symbol of hope for many in this City. He embodied all that is good about a person and a community. He will be missed.

29th October

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

Three people have been murdered in a church in Nice by a terrorist – at least one of them was beheaded. The attacker has been captured – he was shouting “Allahu Akbar” during the attacks and when he was being arrested. This follows the beheading of a teacher in Paris by another Jihadist.

Less than a week to go before the November 3rd election in the US, though more people have already voted by mail or in person than at this time in 2016 (over 70 million). In Some States, like North Carolina, over half of registered voters have already voted and we could see the highest voter turn-out since 1908, despite the pandemic. Whatever the result – and it is still an open question – it’s good to see such a high turnout. A news reporter, covering the long line-up outside a voting station in Florida, asked a registered voter “how long have you been waiting?”. Her response “not quite four years!”.

Melania is on the campaign trail: “I give talk!” and is finding quiet time to write her book (“I write F**ing Book”). Ivanka and Jared are still angry about the billboard in Times Square which accurately quotes what Jared said about COVID-19 and NYC – he just doesn’t like people knowing he’s a shallow piece of work and, of course, Ivanka is upset most of the time. Don Junior  has indicated that he may run in the next Presidential election, but he didn’t say in which country – paddypower.com is taking bets. Joe Biden couldn’t remember his opponents name, but then we’d all like to be able to forget it. The Trump campaign website was hacked and, for about an hour, displayed a message “The World Has Had Enough!”. It was probably hacked by Melania or Barron. Rudi Giuliani blamed Borat and Jared Kushner blamed Palestinians. Trump blamed Obama. Hundreds of Trump supporters were stranded after a rally in Omaha when buses failed to pick them up. Several were treated for hypothermia and a few for hysteria.

Nigel Farage (pronounced Farrrrrrrraaaage not like garage), who still leads the Brexit Party but is essentially unemployed, spoke at a Trump rally in Arizona. He said that Trump was “the most resilient and bravest man I have ever met”. He needs to get out more and meet doctors and nurses on the front line and some of those fighting for human rights.

Rudi Giuliani, fresh off his big screen appearance with Borat’s “daughter”, is upset with Fox news (join the line!). Lisa Kennedy Montgomery was pushing him to have his claims about the lap-top and emails he says are from Hunter Biden to be independently verified before making further claims about them. She suggested he was smearing the Bidens, rather like the Steele dossier smeared Trump for enjoying watching women perform a golden shower on the bed the Obama’s slept in in Moscow. Getting on his high horse, which is difficult for a short man, he said he was insulted by the questions and felt he was being defamed. Imagine! He pointed out that the newspapers which had reported his story were both owned by Rupert Murdoch. “Do you think that he would let them report something that was false?” – well yes, actually!

Jerry Falwell Jnr is suing his former employer, Liberty University claiming that the university had damaged his reputation. Not accepting that he has done anything wrong he accuses all who accuse him of disrespecting him, his family and God. No sense of shame in these people.

France is moving to a total lock-down and Germany is not far behind. Wales is locked down and large parts of England are too. Here in Alberta we’re pursuing the Trumpian strategy – don’t worry, be happy and (whenever you remember) wash your hair and wear a hat and (if you’re in the US) carry a gun, especially if you’re out buying a pumpkin spiced latte. Cases in the US are rising faster than Trump’s ire and here in Alberta positive cases and hospital admissions are going in the wrong direction.

A public health expert in the UK, Professor Emer Shelley, has suggested that Santa should self-isolate and not visit every home in the world on December 25th in case he becomes a “maxi super-spreader” of C-19. He also was accused of having several risk factors – being incredibly old and overweight. The beard also makes it very difficult to mask up. She recommends drone delivery.

Showing all the sensitivity of a pair of well used socks, Kim Kardashian West flew some  thirty of her close friends and family to the Brando Resort on a private island in Tahiti to celebrate her 40th birthday. She says she asked them to self-isolate for two weeks and be tested before they flew to the island and that she will encourage them to self-isolate on their return. Meanwhile, 70,000+ a day in the US are being diagnosed with C-19 and many parts of the world are on lock-down. Her husband, Kayne West, is running to be President of the United States when he remembers.

Bobby Ball (76) – one half of the comedy duo Cannon and Ball and a genuinely natural funny man – has died of complications from C-19. He made me laugh so many times – an essential ingredient of a sensible life. He played the father in Not Going Out alongside the very funny Lee Mack (Would I Lie To You). I would liked to have  been able to hear these two during rehearsals – both gifted members of the wonderful world of one liners. RIP.