Thursday, March 20, 2008

Parallel Déjà

It’s 1980 all over again. The parallels are just insanely scary… it’s like, omygod!

Some of my readers will remember the XXII Olympiad debacle. It was held in Moscow that year.

The USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and therefore there was a 64-country boycott of the Olympics due to protest of this invasion.

Did the USSR pull out of Afghanistan? Uh… no.

Now let’s see, from my bag of tricks I give you: China!

China is about to slap Tibet upside the head – as if this was late-breaking news! And now we really should protest this “new” event with a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

And we didn’t think of this BEFORE we awarded the honour to China?

And does anyone honestly think China will give a rat’s ass about a boycott? The USSR didn’t, so who in their right-mind would think any different in this case?

I mean, seriously!

I have to assume that these morons calling for a boycott weren’t yet old enough in 1980 to remember how utterly useless that move was back then.

Another parallel?

The USSR did get their asses handed to them in Afghanistan, and eventually left of their own accord.

Now we are getting our own asses handed back to us over there. A friend of mine mentioned bombing them back to the stone age – and then something about them already being in the stone age, so obviously the low water mark on that one is for naught.

One other note, while I’m at it, about the 1976 Montreal Olympiad… turns out it was the most expensive in history!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wrenching On

“… but my husband has Alzheimer’s, he’s confused at the best of times. He barely recognizes me and I visit every day!”

“Sorry ma’am, the centre is closed, the quarantine is for ten days. No visits allowed by anyone. Again, I’m sorry, there can be no exception.”

“Oh my god, he won’t even recognize me anymore!”

Now this is what I call a gut wrenching exchange.

2 weeks ago, a bout of influenza broke out at my missus’ health care centre. We’re still unsure how it got in. Probably a hapless visitor but no one can be sure. Most of the employees already had their vaccine, but as sometimes happens in this environment the virus got in anyway.

This made the local newspaper and there was a blurb on TV about it. Quarantining a long-term health-care centre is definitely news worthy.

For influenza, the standard lock-down is ten days after the last occurrence of symptoms. This means no family or friends get to visit, the staff is on high-contagion protocol, and everyone in the building is started on anti-viral medications.

This is a truly horrible time for the residents, as they are alone, sickly and some even pass away from such severe strain on their already frail systems.

It's also just as devastating to loved ones who cannot visit, as the conversation above can attest. Even for the physically healthy residents, who will pull through the infection, the collateral damage can still be severe beyond understanding.

The call for the quarantine is not taken lightly. It is a matter of process established to reduce pain and suffering and ultimately save lives. Nevertheless, as with all absolute procedures, there are always difficulties.

Enforcing quarantine is atrocious for any care-giver. Nurses, nurse’s aids, care staff, all these people’s entire reason for being there is to provide a quality of life! Yet the lesser of two evils still cuts deep into their fibre.

Not for the faint of heart, as my own was shattered when hearing this story.

The ten days came and went, without further outbreak of symptoms. Once again, management, staff and supporting crews pulled out the stops to quell the spread, at greatly reduced numbers, and at much higher than normal care levels. Some of them contracted the flu as well as were sent home as per protocol… and given the shabby state of the health-care system and limited call-out lists, they could not be replaced!

So keep in mind they have a greatly increased workload, but they pull together, going above and beyond what anyone could conscionably expect.

This allowed one nurse, of the very few, to take some time to talk to our Alzheimer’s ridden husband every day.

She used the same tone of voice she’d seen his wife use.

She would put fresh grapes in his hand the very same way his wife did, one at a time.

She held the phone receiver to his ear every day when his wife called so that he could hear his wife’s voice for a few minutes.

Heroes, all of them really... I just don’t consider this being anything less.

Oh, and yes, he did remember his wife.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What's Owed is Owed

I started off being angry, then resigned myself to the default “it figures”.

The Canadian gubmint, in it’s vast and infinite wisdom is about to permit the out-of-country sale of RadarSat-2. Check it out: Ottawa Citizen – Part 1 Sovereignty for Sale

Now I don’t mind that high- technology should be sold to our friends to the South.

I don’t even mind that said intellectual property would no longer be available to Canadian interests in the future.

I don’t particularly care that Canadian high-tech workers will be out of a job.

Heck I don’t even mind, all that much, that the U.S. doesn’t recognize Canadian sovereignty of the Arctic.

What I DO mind is after investing some 620+ MILLION dollars of 1995 Canadian tax-payer monies, the Canadian tax payer will receive NOTHING in compensation from the sale of this paid-for technology.

As far as I’m concerned, MacDonald-Dettwiler owes the Canadian people billions (1995’s 620M$ + interest + SPAR investments + etc., etc., etc.)…

Now, would someone PLEASE instruct the Canadian gubmint how to put a lien on their ass?

For those who didn’t quite follow all that, let me paint a clearer picture…

“I wanna borrow 6-grand from you for this car I’m building see? In exchange, I’ll give you rides to school, work, hockey, we’ll go all over the place together! I promise!”

I fix up the car. And it looks so cool now that I have piles of people who want to buy it.

“I’m gonna sell it for 18K$… you don’t mind if I keep the money, right? And by the way, the new owner doesn’t want you anywhere near it... Bye now.”

There is a single French word that fits really well in this context, and it starts with a “T…”