Peter Gets His Shots, Shares His Library Love, and Reviews a Good Book

Let me start off this week by stating that I have had both COVID vaccinations and will gladly get a booster shot in a couple of months if it is recommended. I have been wearing a mask and practicing social distancing and taking any precautions available to keep myself safe. During my career with the Canadian government, I got my flu shot every year, not only to protect myself, but to protect those whom I interviewed, as well as my family members and friends. 

I posted this comment in response to an article about the virus, and while many people “liked” this comment…..several people “laughed” at it.

Sadly enough there are those out there who minimize the impact of COVID 19 on the world as we know it. They freely post disinformation in the guise of memes and videos, while mocking those who take it rather more seriously.

Pink Floyd – The Foremost Authority on Vaccines

The Internet has provided these “people” with the means to not only distribute their conspiracy theories, but to organize demonstrations which provide them with the opportunity to spread their message of hatred and fear. Even though I am old enough to have friends who have had to deal with the aftereffects of polio, even though I myself was spared major health issues because my parents cared enough to get the whole family vaccinated against common childhood diseases, I do understand that people have the right to exercise free speech, even if a tour of an older cemetery involving a close examination of the horribly short life spans carved on so many headstones would, indeed should, furnish more than adequate proof of the efficiency of vaccines.

However, if they refuse to be educated, if they choose to protest against vaccines, I suppose that they can ignore the facts and have their public tantrums. Just stay away from me. 

Except that this “right” doesn’t give them the right to protest in front of hospitals or schools, doesn’t give them the right to harass health care workers, patients and their families. Speaking from my own personal experience, just over 2 years ago, my dear Lois was in palliative care. My whole world was crashing down in front of me, and I had no idea what to do, except to just keep moving forward. 

If I had been confronted by some “yob” protesting against COVID 19 while I was trying to get into the hospital, if I had been jeered at and crowded, Loyal Reader, I have no idea how I would have reacted. I am normally a gentle person, but I can see myself “losing it” and hitting someone in that particular situation, based on my mindset at that time. Should that have happened, of course my life would have faced new challenges at a time when I had neither the energy nor the ability to deal with them.

No one should ever have the opportunity to put anyone else in a position such as that, in my opinion, as having a loved one in the hospital is stressful enough, let alone trying desperately to deal with someone dear to you who is terminally ill. I honestly have never felt so miserable and scared and lost. 

And above all else, one of the parties in the upcoming federal election is using this unrest as a way to build its base. It is attempting to get people to rally to its cause by campaigning against these health care workers and measures and by using confrontational tactics.

Recently, here in London, a politician had gravel thrown at them. A member of the party of which I write was publicly removed from his post with the party, as it was proven that he was the individual involved. I was horrified to read an article about this incident on our local paper’s website, or at least I was horrified by the comment which stated that this incident made the commenter decide to vote for the party in question!

Tactics and reactions such as this are straight out of Nazi Germany, and I ask all eligible Canadian voters to come out on Monday and have their say, if they haven’t voted already. Read up on the issues so that you can make a smart decision. In my case, unlike the person I mentioned earlier, I have no interest in supporting a party which, among other things, states that government has no business participating in housing. I don’t have time for those “Fuck you, I got mine!” types. 

To finish off this week, I can never thank my parents enough for encouraging me to read. I have a “small” bookcase at Chez Montreuil, which contains many of my books. The observant will note that my collection isn’t entirely composed of books on “res militaria”. (There are a number of other books lurking in the shadows, as an aside.)

The Peter Montreuil Provincial Library

Now, one of the advantages of living where we do is the fact that there is a mall nearby, within walking distance, as a matter of fact. Among other stores, it features a grocery store that sells beer and gives Air Miles. If it had a plastic model shop, it would be perfect. ( There is one a little farther away, but still within walking distance……in a mall which also has an LCBO. Be still, my heart! Or is it “Get thee behind me, Satan……and push!”) 

There is also a branch of the London Public Library in the closest mall. Now I know that you are asking exactly why, with all these books in my possession, would I need a library card?

Glad you asked. Let me tell you about it. A public library is a valuable community resource. It provides easy, open access to services as mundane as photocopying. It can serve as a place to get warm in the winter or stay cool in the summer. It can serve as a community meeting/resource centre, in fact, I staffed a Service Canada outreach centre at a library in East York one afternoon per week, offering information on government programs in a non threatening, non judgmental environment. ( The assistant manager who “assigned” me to this project told me that I would fit right in, as the clientele was made up of “old people”.)

Yes, the public library is a valuable resource, and one of the very few remaining places where it doesn’t matter how much money you have on you, you can still benefit from the information available all around you. You are, of course, still bound by the behavioural standards of polite society, but as long as you adhere to them, you can spend a relaxing time educating yourself.

I have not even mentioned the primary advantage of the public library, the books! In my case, I have been able to check out books on a number of fascinating topics, benefitting from the knowledge of trained specialists and the buying power of the community as a whole.

It’s been an educational experience, Loyal Reader. While I have a number of books on military aviation, I have few books on sports or politics or biographies. Inter alia, I have been able to read about the 1968 Detroit Tigers as well as Ambrose’s book about flying the B-24 in World War II. I found that book rather uneven in spots. I also checked out a book with older photographs of London, Ontario, which Betty has found most interesting.

Closing off this week with a book I read called “Stealing Home”, by Eric Nusbaum. This is the story of Chavez Ravine, the home park of the Los Angeles Dodgers. While there is some baseball history in this book, he does make a rather egregious baseball related error late in the book. However, what happened on the field is purely secondary to the story which Nusbaum is trying to tell, the point he is trying to make.

The land where this stadium is located was appropriated from immigrants who had come from Mexico, many in the early 20th century. The original plan was to build community housing on the site, this plan was formulated just after World War II. 

Laudable as that plan was, it was stymied in the early 1950s, as a direct result of “the Red Menace” and McCarthyism. The land lay as it was, its residents living their lives in relative peace until a push started to move the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles.

An amended version of the plan then came into being, and the evictions began. I found this book to be an excellent choice,  very educational.

So there is this week, Loyal Reader. Get the shots, join the library and don’t forget to vote.

See you soon 

=PJM=

A confirmed Cat person, Peter dabbled with being a water boy, a paper boy and an altar boy before finally settling on a career with the Canadian federal government.  Once, in his youth, he ate a Dutch  oven full of mashed potatoes to win a 5 cent bet with his beloved sister Mary’s boyfriend. (Of course he was much younger and a nickel went a lot farther!))

He has retired to palatial “Chez Montreuil”, which he shares with his little buddy CoCo the Fashionable. He is blessed to have the beautiful Betty in his life. He is not only a plastic aircraft modeller, but a proud “rivet counter”. Military aviation and live music are among other interests of his, and he tries to get out to as many shows as he can. He will be here for your enlightenment whenever the stars align. Profile photo courtesy of Pat Blythe, caricature courtesy of Peter Mossman.

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