Pat Blythe – Christmas lockdown…..other stuff and music

This whole COVID thing is getting long, tiring, confusing and extremely exasperating for most of us. People start to rebel like children in a sandbox who don’t play fair. They confront each other in anger like the bully in the schoolyard. In many instances we seem to live in a rather thoughtless society whose three favourite people seem to be me, myself and I. It doesn’t seem to matter what part of this mudball we inhabit, everyone is infected…..not by the virus, but by fear, bad attitude, frustration, annoyance, (add your own descriptive here). Information, misinformation, ignorance, conspiracy theories, protests and riots, the numbers are over/under inflated/aren’t real….the list goes on. It doesn’t really matter what you believe, it’s affecting all of us. COVID fatigue is real and should have been considered by minds much greater than mine, long before now.

 

Bad decisions and carelessness is wiping out businesses and families at an alarming rate. This is not your average, run-of-the-mill “cold” or “flu” as it seems to attack everyone differently, from the very young to the very old. It also spreads more easily and quickly. Because influenza is not a reportable disease, the infections and subsequent deaths are only guestimates.

Here’s the most recent U.S. “flu” numbers from the CDC¹ covering October 1, 2019 to April 4, 2020:

  • 39,000,000 – 56,000,000 flu illnesses
  • 18,000,000 – 26,000,000 flu medical visits
  • 410,000 – 740,000 flu hospitalizations
  • 24,000 – 62,000 flu deaths

Now compare that to the current state of affairs as of November 23, 2020:

  • 5 million active COVID-19 cases
  • 258,000 COVID-19 related deaths!

How does this happen? Tends to give one pause…..

So…..when you “call off” Christmas because of gross neglect, the gloves come off! Now I’m really super pissed!

Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves – Call off Christmas

So here I go…..

First, I take issue with the term “lockdown”. It’s a jailhouse term and we are NOT in jail. Truthfully, we’re not really in lockdown. Ask an inmate what lockdown is. We still have the freedom to move about for essentials, no one is checking our ID, there is no curfew, nobody is watching us use the toilet and we’re not locked behind bars. We are simply asked to stay in our homes as much as possible, shop for necessary items only and wear a goddamn mask!!!

For all you anti-maskers…..I mean really…….your “rights” don’t come into play here because we all have the same “rights and privileges”. Yours are no more “righter” than mine! Come to think of it, protestors don’t seem to mind wearing balaclavas when raging through our streets and setting fire to police cars. Oh….you want the “choice”. So it’s really your “choice” and not your “right” you’re going on about. Well, you’re not giving the rest of us much “choice” when you carry the virus, wade into a crowd and knowingly, or unknowingly, spread it to me and others. That’s called “not giving a shit”. So what’s that about “choice”? You keep yours, but take away ours? Here’s another thought; since people with HIV can be charged for engaging in sex (protected or otherwise), without informing their partner they carry the HIV virus, maybe COVID will follow suit? Especially if the recipient of your “droplets” ends up with lifelong medical conditions or dies. Of course you’ll have the “right” to a fair trial. ….and as far as a vaccine goes for this one, it’s been what, 40 years since HIV began its invasive trek throughout the world, infecting and killing millions? But again, I digress……

Second, this “lockdown” is killing the best holiday of the year. It doesn’t really matter what your religion/beliefs are, there is something special about Christmas and the Christmas season. It’s a feeling, a non-tangible warm and fuzzy. Christmas to me is friends and family, visiting, baking, hosting, watching the little ones, Charlie Brown and A Christmas Carol, finding (or making) something special for that special someone…..it’s the lights, the colours, the smiles, the first gentle snowfall. It’s the season of giving….with your heart and your time. It infects us with hope, faith and love. It opens hearts (and pocketbooks) around the world. The shear magic of the season has lifted me up my entire life (at least as far back as my memory goes).

Our illustrious premier (she writes dripping with sarcasm) has just flushed Christmas down the proverbial toilet in one fell swoop, killing small, local businesses (and local economies) once again. It’s also pitting one city against another, inflaming tempers and encouraging derogatory comments on FB. We have mayors on television asking people to please NOT come to their part of the province, and restaurants checking your address before they seat you. Sigh……

Third….too many mixed messages…..too many buts.  You tell us to stay home but a gathering of 10 is fine…..or is it six, or…..? You tell us to reduce contact but attending church/mosque/etc. or sitting in some theatres is okay. You close gyms and restaurants but schools stay open. You shutdown “non-essential businesses” but anyone who sells a banana or an aspirin can stay open (with huge lineups, I may add). Thousands of protesters hit the streets in cities and small towns across the country with nary a slap on the wrist. Oh….they have the “right” to protest you say. NO THEY DON’T! They are flouting the law. By standing by and doing nothing, by being selective, by tap dancing around numbers, the messages and excuses governments (along with the media) are dishing out are eroding confidence and sending mixed signals. Any sense of leadership or trust is long gone. Everything is going sideways. Now you’re holding the most festive time of year hostage!

From my viewpoint, our provincial government is pandering to big business while killing a large part of local economies which, by the way Mr. Ontario Premier, pay taxes too, thus allowing your government to remain reasonably functional and pay all those lovely salaries to government employees. I am so mad I could spit (with a mask on). Governments waffle without being decisive, lean too far one way or the other, try to please too many with half-baked or confusing ideas and pronouncements, create uncertainty and fear and now, politicians think splitting up a province is a good idea, four weeks before the biggest holiday and shopping bonanza of the year.

Lockdown….big business vs. little business

Four, make commercial evictions illegal. Go after landlords who decide to take this route or threaten their tenants with the bailiff, rather than apply for monetary assistance. It’s scientifically proven you cannot get blood from a stone. On that note, you might want to make that assistance just a tad more attainable. There will always be unforeseen consequences to just about any decision, but those consequences are miniscule compared to the overall help and relief they provide (not to mention diminished anxiety).  Don’t focus (pointing finger a media) on how many people screwed CERB. What’s important is who it helped. Everyone who applied and received $$s were tracked by CRA. They won’t let the “bad apples” get far.

As much as I love this country, I’m trying to find out where our backbone is. It’s not at the federal level and certainly not at the provincial level. Municipal….even that’s questionable. The entire province (no country) should have been shut down the minute the numbers started to go up…..anywhere. Somebody, please, grow a spine, grow some balls or quit tucking them up your ass…..take the bull by the horns and deal with it!!!! You want taxpayers?  A location of six feet underground doesn’t help the economy. Unemployment doesn’t help the economy. Raising prices for essentials (particularly groceries) doesn’t help the economy either. It’s a trickle up, and trickle down effect. It’s a ripple effect….and then everything comes to a standstill.

New York Times bans editorial cartoons after pushback regarding a caricature of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu published in the paper.

I don’t care how commercial Christmas has become (you can make it as commercial….or not….as you want), this is the time of year when most local shopkeepers make 40-50% of their yearly sales, and you, Doug Ford, just signed their death knell. They were running on fumes to begin with. If government “leaders” (and I use that term loosely) possessed half a spine four to six weeks ago, we wouldn’t be in this fucking mess!!! I don’t believe your “song and dance” about “saving the economy”, because you just stuck another knife in the wound, and this time the bleeding may not be staunched, and too many will not survive. Some economy!!! Oh, and all those folks who finally did find work…..they just lost those jobs.

Then there’s the Feds…..

No, you weren’t escaping my pissoffedness. I realize Trudeau has a minority government, and that makes things a bit more challenging. But please, pretty please, we need strong, clear-thinking, forceful leadership now more than ever. NDP, Conservatives, Bloc, Greens, and everyone else, stop with the backroom deals and politics. All of you get your heads out of your asses. This is about human lives…..not you, not your job, your position in government or even the economy (because we won’t have the latter unless people are around to work AND spend money). No one is listening to the platitudes anymore. Stop using the media as a bully pulpit. Play together in the same sandbox. Stop trying to be heroes to your constituents and instead be heroes to the entire country.

Yes, I know…..first world problems. Lineups are a drag. We don’t like to compare ourselves to third-world countries where they have to line up for bread. Instead, we grumble when we have to line up for booze and Costco. But here in Canada is where I happen to live. We simply shouldn’t be in this mess specifically because we ARE a first world country. We’re supposed to be better and smarter than this, or have we lost our “right” to think too.

A final note…..

Going back many years to the beginning of Sunday shopping (thanks to maverick furrier Paul Magdar) and the ensuing fights, fines, court cases and legal manoeuvres, it was mandated at one point only “essential” areas of the stores or “certain square footage” could be opened or accessed by the public on Sundays. I remember walking into stores with areas cordoned off, and even if you slipped past the barriers to grab something, the checkout wouldn’t check it out. This of course eventually graduated to a full-blown seven days a week shopper’s dream. The point is, don’t tell me the Walmarts and Costcos of the world can’t do this now. Just because you sell a few tomatoes doesn’t mean books, clothing, furniture, bedding, toys, etc. are “essential”.

According to an article in Yahoo Finance, While Ontario Premier Doug Ford acknowledged on Monday the concern about big box stores remaining open, he said that closing off parts of a store that cater to non-essential goods would be “a logistical nightmare. 100 per cent it’s not fair,” Ford said. “That’s why we put an additional $300 million to support small businesses… We’re doing everything we can as a province. The quicker we can get through this, the quicker we can get this vaccine out there, we can get people back and open up.” OFFS!! What’s “not fair” is shutting the little guy out!  ….and about that vaccine…..

In the same article, Diane Brisebois, the chief executive of the Retail Council of Canada stated, “….e-commerce will not make up for the lost in-person sale, particularly given the increased competition online as well as concerns about shipping capacity with Canada’s parcel delivery services.” Brisebois added, “We think the best solution is the rethink on capacity restriction and allow non-essential retailers to operate and truly ensure they control the number of people that can be in the story at one time.”

COVID believes in equal opportunity too. Shut everything down, everywhere, for two weeks and see where we’re at. Stop with the nit-picky solutions. If you’re going to cancel Christmas, then just do it! Death by a thousand cuts is literally killing us.

We have much to be thankful for in this, the 21st century. Hard to believe, I know! I’m just tired of all this vacillating, back and forth, dithering, woolly, unable-to-make-up-your-mind, business. We know far more than we did in the beginning, so let’s use this intelligence wisely and decisively. No more waffling!

This week’s music includes a new release by Hamilton-based group The Redhill Valleys, another local group I’ve been following for the past few years.

If I Didn’t Know You – The Redhill Valleys

Indie artist Colleen Brown has released a new album. According to her publicist, “Prairie-raised, now Toronto-based Colleen Brown is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter who effortlessly weaves elements of folk, roots, Americana, and pop into a sublime, striking blend. Her new album ISOLATION SONGS brings her varied skills into the spotlight once more – even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, about which the songs were written.” A sense of fun and humour…..for your listening pleasure may I present Ms Brown…..

It’s The End Of The World (Again) – Colleen Brown

Isolation Stimulation – Colleen Brown

The Fate of Fireflies – Rumer

The following is not a song but a oration, and a very interesting one at that.

The Death of Melody

I just like this….a lot!

All Things Come From God – Tony Kosinec

We all need some right now…..

Do You Believe in Magic – The Lovin’ Spoonful

¹ https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay healthy.

Addendum

Businesses are closing by the truckload…..another one today. People no longer have work. They can’t pay rent let alone put food on the table. The bottom is falling out at a quickening pace. We are losing way too much in the way of livelihoods and people. We’re running out of time. Something needs to be done. We can’t afford this at any level. It’s now rapidly becoming a losing battle. No more ticky tacky, fit the square peg in the round hole decisions. Get on it governments….the country needs a cohesive plan!!!!

=PB=

Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

One Response to “Pat Blythe – Christmas lockdown…..other stuff and music”

  1. Love this playlist. AND the Rant!

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