Sunday, January 30, 2022

Lunatic Fringe?

I'm a bit of a social media addict, but I quietly wandered away from Facebook last summer when too many people I know in real life were making fun of people wearing masks. A quick peek back finds far too much support for this inane convoy making a mess of Ottawa. It's bad enough having to deal with that unnerving feeling in person, my blood running cold as it's explained to me that N95s are too uncomfortable to bother with, and that we have to make peace with death and the death of others. We have to live our lives!! The lack of concern for how overwhelmed hospitals are and childhood hospitalizations increasing has me reeling. 

And we can live our lives for so much longer, and with much greater pleasure from good health, if we get vaccinated, wear better masks, and keep buildings well ventilated. It's baffling to me the level of denial and the weird rationalizations people are making around the pandemic. I hear that, like me, people are terrified for their lives and the lives of our children, but denial just makes it so much worse. It IS possible to mitigate the risks and avoid the costs with just so little effort! 

Questionable numbers here, but estimates still show N95 give better protection.

The "truckers convoy" is a perfect symbol of misdirected discontent. I put it in quotation marks because most of this gang aren't truckers, and most truckers have denounce the whole shenanigans, with over 90% vaccinated. It's really a white nationalist grift and a distraction from worse events allowed to continue.  

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Bad News is Increasing, but More Slowly?

Teaching in Ontario right now is an absurdist's wet dream. Schools can only close if there's more than 30% absent, and many classes are half full, but nobody's actually away because any online contact gets them marked present, so even sick kids are logging in. Masks provided for kids smell of kerosene and are adult sized, huge on tiny faces. One teacher suggested using them as car covers. The vast majority of classrooms do NOT have a HEPA filter, and many classrooms don't have windows at all or the windows are frozen shut, but we all have excellent ventilation. There are no CO2 monitors to know for real, though, but trust us. Two doses are "almost worthless" as protection past six months, but 12-17 year olds who got dose 2 back in May aren't eligible for a booster because they're perfectly fine. Classes aren't sent home from a contact in the room anymore since nobody is allowed to tell if there's a positive case in the class, but we all go home if one person gets lice, which makes me think of this scene from Pleasantville:

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Ontario Schools Opening Monday: A Collection of Responses

There is a simmering rage out there from Lecce & Moore's reiteration of the "leaked" news of schools being in-person in five days. Of course it wasn't truly leaked. This is how Ford gets feedback on his ideas before making them his ideas. It's a childish way of establishing plausible deniability. And now, IF they schools actually shift to in-person learning (schools haven't closed since this all started - they just shifted online), then it could be "absenteeism" that closes them, and Ford's in the clear!! Of course it won't be "absenteeism" as far as any authentic definition is concerned, i.e. teachers and staff avoiding work without just cause. No, it will be from illness and family care days. They're ready with an arsenal of retired teachers and parents that they're hoping will step up to take the place of teachers that they expect to get sick! Parents won't hear anything about it, though, until we hit 30% - THIRTY PER CENT - absences in a school. So no more late night texts to find out a student in our class has the virus. A question for the Minister and Doctor, if they wouldn't mind: By the time 30% of the school is absent from omicron, what are the chances that the rest have it?? 

Here's a selection that was live tweeted during the announcement from my disgruntled corner of the world. I didn't include attribution in case people don't want to be mentioned here, except in the case of authorities in their field. Some of my own tweets are in the mix:

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Juris My Diction Crap

This Matrix clip has been at the front of my mind since I started looking into how to get a booster for my youngest, who's 17, because I question if recent orders around delaying boosters for the 12-17 and around getting kids back to school in nine days are really for our protection! 

My oldest caught the covid from their partner who got it from an ill-advised trip into Shoppers Drug Mart, and my little bunny is very sick, and it sucks so much!! (Wear N95 masks, and wear your googles, too, kids!!) But we've been lucky that the oldest's bedroom is in the basement with their own bathroom, so they're relatively easily contained, and the rest of us made it to day five unscathed and testing negative. My biggest worry aside from the well being of my triple vaxxed oldest, who doesn't have the strength to get out of bed, is my unprotected teenager getting it. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

LTC Homes: Ownership Matters

Nancy Olivieri, Michael Hurley, Vivian Stamatopoulos, and Natalie Mehra explained Doug Ford's sneaky passing of Bill 37 just before Christmas in today's Toronto Star.  They warn, "Hope to live out your old age in dignity and comfort? Think again." 

Ford doesn't want us to know what's been stolen from Ontarians. This bill "smooths the way for billions of public dollars to be funnelled to for-profit LTC for another generation," allowing Ford to promote for-profit ownership and issue new licenses to operators with terrible records. 

Covid-19 has exacerbated problems in LTC homes, but the problems were already quietly brewing: 

"Decades of tax-funded incentives aimed at improving for-profit facilities were offered to their operators--and were declined. . . . for-profit LTC is worse than that in publicly run facilities, across a range of outcomes. Owners siphon off revenue to shareholders, spend 24% less on direct care, have fewer staff and lower pay compared with non-profits, and fail to deliver on standards of care. . . . Ford confirmed plans to allocate thousands of new beds in 30-year licenses to for-profit companies, including to operators of homes in which the military exposed hideous examples of neglect . . . paid for by public taxes, and by residents' fees."  

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Resilience During a Pandemic

I learned little from English classes. I think my highest grade in high school was a 53. I mastered grammar and that formulaic essay enough to slip over into a passing grade, but I never understood all the metaphor and symbolism talk. At the time, I suspected it was all made up. Secretly, I still think so. I had the same reaction to formal theory discussions in art classes: the lesson that every single choice of colour and line and space is carefully pre-determined with an eye to balance and complementary structure and all the other elements I now forget. Our teacher encouraged us to watch a Georgia O'Keefe interview on television one night, which I imagine he later regretted. O'Keefe described painting by filling the canvas from the upper left corner to the lower right. She had no idea what it would look like until she was finished! Ha!! Okay, so I get that we were not a crew of burgeoning Georgia O'Keefes sitting there, in Mr. Millar's grade 9 class! Some people have a feel for design, it's in them, so they don't need to be taught how to structure words or images. The way it seems to work is that the rest of us have to try to figure out what the talented few did and copy it perhaps to become writers and artists good enough for mainstream consumption or a largely unread blog, but scarcely able to affect anyone at any depth.