The Apocalypse and the lonely writer

Jerry Pournelle always said bad times were good for writers. We’re cheap entertainment. Note this wasn’t true for trad publishing post 9/11 when everything tanked. At a guess because books were then too expensive, and most of them weren’t a ton of fun.

HOWEVER I’ve noticed that we sell fewer books as indies in the GOOD economic times, so I think the reverse holds. (In fact things seem to sell well in economic dips.)

Whatever else happens, I THINK we’re in for an economic hit, just because of China. Oh, and because our press is doing its best to crash the economy.


I don’t think it will be a massive hit, not compared to the rest of the world, but I think people might feel pinched, at least for a few months.  Hopefully not too long.

And while I think China and maybe the Middle East are in for a rough time — I want to emphasize this — I don’t think our death percentage, etc. will be anywhere like China’s or the Middle East’s or even Europe’s. However (this is very important) I think the panic will last longer than the virus.

At this point I’m not 100% sure how serious the death toll will be in the US (probably lower than in Europe, btw) and not sure how it will be in Europe, either.

We simply don’t have enough numbers. China is not reliable (DUH) and frankly, no authority is. Yesterday I did a spit take at the Watt’s Up with that site saying we had numbers because UN. Oh, Reeeely? Then would you trust their numbers for global warming? No? Then shut up.

We have no clue what infection numbers are, or death numbers from those infections. AFAWCT the general death rate hasn’t gone up the last few months, but then again, it’s usually not released that early, is it? (Honest question.) BUT I do know even in the US no one is being tested unless there’s an identifiable “pathway” to have caught it.
And since some rumors have it that it’s been active in China since October… It could have come in through a hundred different ways.

I find it highly suspicious for instance that Portugal reports not a single infection. I think this result could only be achieved by inserting fingers in ears and yelling lalalalala.

Again, how it interacts with American or European immune systems versus Chinese is something else, and no, I’m not being a racist, in this. China has environmental and other stresses we simply don’t have. So does Iran, for that matter.

Again, unless it was extinction rebellion (rolls eyes) it’s unlikely to be apocalyptic here, but as the disaster in China unfolds, it’s going to chill the economy and bring on at least a moderate recession with some bits of “how do I get this thing I usually get from China?)

The very first point of our apocalypse and the lonely writer prep — or anyone who can work from home via the computer prep — is to check your equipment and figure out if you’re going to need something very short term/your computer is on its last legs/whatever. Because you might find that all that stuff goes up/can’t be got at any price in a couple of months.

And since we’re talking about computers and working on them:
There was an article about people self-quarantining, voluntarily, in San Francisco, and my circles made much fun of it, because, wait, feces in the street don’t worry you, but a virus in Wuhan DOES?

However, the thing is, honestly, none of us needs a terrible lot of incentive to self-quarantine because for most of us it’s fairly painless and if not pleasant, at least not unpleasant.

For instance, both of us can in fact work from home. (And keep our own hours, to a great extent.)

It is a point of dark amusement that just as panic over this hits, we’re having quite possibly the most “interactive” week in many months. You see, our car died and we must shop for another one. And also I have a series of doctor appointments (makes cross sign with fingers) for an unrelated problem, which means I’m going to doctors and hospitals a lot.

However, after this week we should be able to resume our semi-hermit-ical lifestyle, where our biggest outing is for walks in the botanic gardens, which granted interact with people but not within touching or sneezing distance.

It’s very easy for writers to stay home and work, have stuff delivered (remember to wipe it down with bleach wipes) and find both work and fun in the confines of “voluntary quarantine.”

Not just for writers, but I think pretty much for anyone who can work from home, for the next two/three months this is going to be a thing. We’re going to think and agonize (to an extent already are, at least the more paranoid/immune impaired of us) on whether to go out to a restaurant, or any public place that’s not, you know, something like the zoo which is open air and you can keep your distance.

Malls and real shops, to the extent we haven’t cut them out already, will probably be cut out, unless something is absolutely tempting. Restaurants, we’re only going to when we are meeting friends and/or celebrating soemthing, instead of because it’s Wednesday — say — and I’m tired. (To be fair, part of that is because getting new-to-us car and also doing a lot of house improvements. But other people might also be eating out less. At least marginally)

The thing is, there are several trends already in progress that won’t take a ton of push to go that way. It’s enough to not be sure what the heck is going on with the Xi-disease, for instance for me to say “um, let’s NOT go browse in the used bookstore. We have KUL, I’ll just read what’s available that way.” Or “You know, we have enough paper books, let’s not go to the Tattered Book Cover.”

Now, normally, as after 9/11, this might mean that bookstores and trad pubs posted a bad quarter.

However, most of the bookstores and therefore the advantage of traditional publishing are already teetering on the brink of disaster. I honestly don’t know if they come back from this, if it causes even a slight chill in mega-convention attendance (a lot of paper books these days are sold as a “souvenir of experience”) and bookstore browsing. It doesn’t even need to affect the economy that much, to take out bookstores (and with them trad pub)

Some maybe, but it would take very agile thinking and fast moving. Some might manage it, but I have yet to see anyone in trad pub really internalizing how much the industry has already changing, and that the 90s aren’t coming back. even some of the new style publishing houses have issues with this.

As for indie writers… well, since a lot of us put our books on KUL it might be a year of fat cows ahead, at least insofar as sales.

The determinant points will be that our writing be fun and immersive. If it is, I think we stand to cash in, given a few other conditions:

As part of a couple where I’m books, he’s media (he reads too, he’s just more visual — not difficult in this case — and therefore also watches two/three movies a week. I can tell you that it’s really easy for him to exhaust “what’s out there that I have any interest in watching” any given month. And that’s now, when production of visual entertainment is proceeding at a normal pace.

Now, unlike trad pubbers I don’t think that books are selling worse because people have movies. That’s not how that works. And I don’t think that even if production of video entertainment slows down “people will have to buy books.”
There are video games and a ton other ways to deliver story these days.

OTOH we’ve seen lasting entertainment trend shifts as a result of temporary inconvenience. Lest we forget, the reality show thing was the result of a script writer strike.
In the same way, it is possible that a slight change in the mix will get more people to read or to read more, instead of the more sociable activities they’ve been engaging in.
Does this mean we’re all going to get rich? I doubt it. But we might be able to make a decent living.

What might make a difference is the following (all of them already recommended things for indies):

Write series, if you can. Write fast if you can. As a reader of indie books, I can tell you I like “falling into” a series. If you have a couple of immersive series going and bring stuff out every other month you probably won’t starve.

It’s harder to say WHAT you should be writing, at least as to tone.

I know it was a thing in trad pub to think you published fluffy fantasy under the democrats, but horror under republicans, because “all you can do is scream and die.”

I think this is their own bias but what they were referring to then was the bad times of the seventies (Carter, but not only) and the good times, economically under Reagan. I think the traditional publishers were being goofy attaching genre to ideology, and it might be just as stupid to attach it to good/bad times.

How people deal with depression varies. Some people read scary/sad things to cope. Others deal with it by reading happy happy stuff. (During one of the hardest periods in my recent life, I listened to the Black Tide books on a loop. Because though post-apocalyptic they have a satisfying “this too shall pass” tone.)

I think however — and this might be biased by how I cope with things — that when overwhelmed and worried, people prefer “easy” books, hence my recommendation for immersive.

Easy is not the same as shallow or pablum. In fact very complex worlds can be easy to fall into.

But if you feel yourself deciding to make the reader “work for it” (some of us have issues when suddenly our brain decides we really need a complex invented language, say) don’t. Your over stressed (even if mostly because the news are telling him the plague is coming) reader probably doesn’t need that. (Note that’s probably a good idea at any time, really.)

So, this apocalypse, stay home and write very fast.

Making predictions is hard, particularly about the future, but it would seem to be a good time for ebooks and KUL, a bad time for traditional and physical books.

And there is a chance it won’t take much to make that prevalent if not permanent (?)

Which means work you put in now, might see you through the foreseeable future. And at the very least you won’t be worrying about an apocalypse!

150 thoughts on “The Apocalypse and the lonely writer

  1. Of we have an economic downturn, as seems likely it may be difficult for writers,but shiploads less than for other occupations. Imagine having to work with a field that requires you to be surrounded by the public,like retail, or any sort of job that demands you be surrounded by sick people. God bless nurses.We are in an “industry that allows us to work from home,sell our products online, and live like hermits if we so desire. We got it made compared to,say, anyone working on a cruise ship or a bus driver.

  2. I take a bit of comfort in the fact that my state is so very full of isolation that most diseases have a hard time getting a foothold here. Public schools, of course, present a problem, but there’s no school age kids in my immediate family any longer, and we can avoid going to church if it looks like illness–be it the coronavirus or even the flu–is ramping up.

    Our biggest issue in general is the fact that we are, in essence, a food desert: all our food is shipped in from out of state. Colorado being the closest, but still. The grocery store shelves get a little bare several times every winter, on account of the interstate being closed (because the idiot who routed I-80 ignored the locals when they said “Don’t put that there, the winds will drift it over CONSTANTLY” and guess what happened….) so if supply chains were impacted by an outbreak in more heavily populated areas it could get a bit interesting. On the other hand…well, let’s just say the fat, lazy town deer would be in for a shock…(And I come from a family that does food storage, so we’d be good for awhile.)

    My biggest concern on a family level is sourcing mom’s insulin. Though at least her diabetes is not completely out of control–she can, to some extent, keep the sugars under control with diet. But it still would not be good, especially as she also has kidney issues. And unfortunately, the cost of her insulin is such that stocking up on it is not financially feasible (and while she can take the “cheap” stuff, it does not actually do much, and she has to take so much of it that it sort of defeats the purpose).

    I shall be doing much praying that things do not get more than “somewhat inconvenient” here in the States.

    1. When I’m in the mood for post-apoc, I watch trucker videos from winter on I-80 through Wyoming… holy crap…. WAY worse conditions that we ever see up here on I-90, one state north.

      We can grow pretty much everything we need here in Montana, but we’ve got better water.

      1. Yeah, as I told one poor sap who, it turned out, had almost definitely been taken in by a land-sale scam “Sorry, but there is a whole lotta nothin’ out here. And especially where they sold you land–no, you aren’t gonna build a house there unless you’re a millionaire, there isn’t even a two track in that section quarter. No, you won’t be able to get out there to look at it in January, and probably not until at least May–and possibly not even then, considering how this winter is going.”

        Really, it’s the wind that causes the problems. Yeah, we’ve gotten a bigger-than-normal amount of snow this winter, but…it’s still a high desert. So mostly it’s the wind that makes the mess and the giant drifts (it can do that with six inches of snow. We’ve had a few storms this year that are more like FEET of snow. In the town where I work, it got bad enough that the POLICE OFFICE sent everyone non-essential to emergencies home. When the cops close the shop, you know it’s bad…)

        But yeah, it’s a not-infrequent joke around here that we’re not sure anyone would notice if the apocalypse happened, except that the food wouldn’t be coming in…

        With the right varieties and a lot of work–and not a little luck–we could probably grow plenty of food here, even in our very short growing seasons. There are winter wheats that were grown here once upon a time, and there did used to be dairies in this area. But it would be hard, especially if the animal-growers especially couldn’t supplement the feed from elsewhere, because again: most of the state is either mountain or high desert (think…well, the steppes of Mongolia are probably a good analogue? Though I think they’re even worse than here)

        Still, given that there’s barely more than 600K people in the ENTIRE STATE, if we were only trying to feed ourselves we might do all right. (Of course, very few of those people have the first clue how to garden, let alone how to garden or farm food in a zone 4 region…)

        1. Talk to Joseph Lofthouse (comes up on search) — he lives out in the Bumsmack Utah high desert, and is growing landrace veggies that can thrive on little water, short season, and zero care. (Be a little careful, tho, cuz he’s crossbred with wild varieties that are still sometimes toxic.) He’ll send seed, when he has it, for a little cash. Among his offerings is his granddad’s Emmer Wheat, desert-adapted. Was thinking it might make a good cover where the new highway overpass messed up our landscape — where it could take care of itself, keep the weeds down, and maybe provide a bit of emergency crop. Think I’m gonna start throwing tired veggies over there where it’s swampy and see if some will naturalize, too. I get volunteer tomatoes all over my garden (literally by the hundreds, and they’re slow to bloom, but somewhat frost-tolerant) so it’s not like Montana winter is an impediment. (I’m really a carnivore, but I’ll eat some veggies in season, mainly because growing ’em is free.)

          He also has ‘breadseed poppies’ …ahem.

          …or, how I discovered that California poppies, a tender annual in the SoCal desert, are actually a hardy perennial!! I had the durn things blooming here in November (it had already been below zero!!), and some were already growing this January!! Makes you wonder why they’re established down there and not up here.

          As to the wind down your way…

        2. It could be worse:

          I found wind and pressure maps for the storm, and it was actually a hurricane over land (FIVE TIMES the size of the biggest the Gulf Coast ever sees). Siberia has a bunch of these every winter, but North America only gets ’em infrequently, probably because our terrain usually breaks ’em up before they reach this point.

        3. I was reading an older edition of _The Roadside Geology of Wyoming_ and it says that once I-80 was finished, the locals (who had warned the engineers about the bit between Cheyenne and Laramie) nick-named it the Snow-Chi-Minh Trail.

    2. I-80 was basically a legacy route, wasn’t it? Roughly following the Oregon Trail and the level(ish) crossing over the continental divide.

      1. Yes, I-80 roughly follows pioneer trails – and the first transcontinental railroad – much of the way through the west.

    3. Six years ago, I did a road trip from Oregon to the Midwest. Getting out of Salt Lake City was interesting because of glare ice on the freeway, but the whiteout near Evanston was scary. I was behind a big rig, both us us doing 25-35 mph. I was afraid to pull over because I had no idea where the edge of the road really was. I figured that if the truck fell over, it was time to stop, and quickly.

      I-80 was closed at Rawlings that morning, but by the time I got there, it had reopened. I’ve been on more desolate roads (OR/NV 140 between Lakeview, OR and US-95 get the prize), but I-80 west of Laramie is a solid number 2.

      The winds on that trip didn’t get bad until Nebraska. 55 mph crosswinds, and the sail area of a Subaru Forester. Tiring trip.

      With respect to veggies in WY, look at greenhouses. I did a hoop-house (hoopbenders dot net is a good source of tools and information) that uses Home Depot sourced fence pieces. We grow tomatoes in ours, and we’re pretty arid (only 4300 feet elevation, though). I used to read a blog by a guy living in NE Wyoming who did a partial underground greenhouse. I think he built alongside a hill and did an earth cover for the roof. (Link seems to be dead, so no luck on details.)

  3. Note this wasn’t true for trad publishing post 9/11 when everything tanked. At a guess because books were then too expensive, and most of them weren’t a ton of fun.

    And they “felt” like someone who disliked they were visiting in the hospital, but still had to show up. “I’m here, saying nice stuff because I feel obligated, but I really don’t like you.”

    5-6 bucks is more than half the cost of a 12 pack– I can get a 12 pack of PBR for $8 on sale– so yeah, expensive.

    1. Yep. Immediately after 9/11 too they published a ton of “Islam won” SF/f. I don’t know if they were in the pipeline or were rushed through because “of course most people are mad at the US, right?” was the attitude of the gatekeepers.
      I keep thinking “Holy tone deafness, batman.”

      1. IIRC, weren’t most of those “and then dystopia ensued” or, at their most unrealistic, “and then the world wasn’t much worse than it is now”?

        1. Some. But a LOT of them was “And they were kinder and more enlightened than the west.” or “At least no worse.”
          (I.e. not everyone is Baen.)
          Sorry, I don’t remember titles, because i walled a lot of books that winter. And before you ask “Why did you buy them?” I didn’t. At the time I was a member of SFWA. Publishers sent us all the “award bait” for free, in hopes we’d vote for it.

      2. How would that work, anyway? I recall the joke about someone being mad there were no Muslims on Star Trek, with the rejoinder of “yeah, there aren’t any Muslims in the future”

        Islam doesn’t really have the capacity to win in an industrial world, only to be an epic pain in the butt.

        1. Iran nukes Israel, Israel retaliates (or the US retaliates if Israel can’t), Russia retaliates, and then . . . That was one relatively likely scenario I saw/heard gamed out in 2003

          1. Sure, but the logistics of that scenario means that the heavily urbanized Arab world starves to death in short order.

          2. Russia retaliates,

            Yeah, that is the whole reason to want to anticipate that mess, and get rid of the Russians first at an opportunity when the balance of systems is in our favor.

            I’m annoyed at how much time I wasted in depression after I realized that we were no longer going to be able to avoid a nuclear war during the 21st century, because the Russians don’t think they can let us have a free hand with Iran, we can no longer keep the Iranians from getting the bomb, and the Iranians can’t kept it out of terrorist hands.

            There’s actually a part of that mess that we can deal with, and hopefully avoid going back to the Cold War. And it helps to remember that just cause we can anticipate future possibilities does not mean that we can predict all possible futures.

          3. The odds of Israel being unable or unwilling to retaliate are astonishingly small. Google Project Samson. We don’t really know how many nukes they have, but even the lowest guesses give them enough weapons (and the willingness) to vaporize every important city in the Middle East. This is the best reason for all the countries there to get Iran to back off.

      3. I remember reading a book heavily featuring Islam before and after 9/11. So quick to be alternate history. . . .

  4. However (this is very important) I think the panic will last longer than the virus.

    Been keeping my eyes open the last few weekends– and noticed that there are far fewer folks out and about.
    Went to a fast food place yesterday for fat Tuesday, one with a play-place, and not only was the sanitizer container empty but there were almost no kids there. One pair of mommies that were obvious this-is-our-mommy-meetup, and when we were leaving one grandma with a kid. Every other time we’ve been there, even during the week, I remind myself that we should NEVER go there after 11.

    At Walmart, noticed that nobody with the sniffles was working– and they were obviously missing a lot of people.

    Torn between appreciating the paranoia and fussing.

    1. The Daughter Unit and I popped around to all our regular shops yesterday for the monthly stock-up: Costco, Granzins’ Meats in New Braunfels, the big HEB … all with the aim of not needing anything but milk until mid-month. We took the opportunity of stocking up on flu medications, mucinex, aspirin, etc. The shelves of those were all quite full, by the way – the HEB even had some coupons for some of them.
      My concern is that shelves will empty out, once and if the Kung Flu really hits the US.
      The figures out there – of course, we can’t really trust those from China. My daughter notes how really sparse the information is on the prior condition of those who have died from it: were they elderly, had underlying conditions already? Did pneumonia finish them, after the flu made them initially ill?.
      The guys at Chicagoboyz are following this, with regular posts.

    2. We did our weekly shopping Wednesday; two standard grocery stores (quiet), the wholesale supply (open to the public because Oregon, and average) and Home Depot. The latter was the only place I’d consider busy, and that wasn’t tremendously so. (I usually avoid them on the weekends.)

      The wholesale food place seemed to be selling larger quantities for the private parties. Didn’t see enough of the small commercial buyers to make a guess, though at lunch, the taqueria was doing a whole lot more to-go sales than we’ve seen previously.

      We were planning on seeing a play put on my the local repertory theater this March. Giving it a hard pass until Kung Flu is over. 150 people in a theater? Nope.

  5. “I think however — and this might be biased by how I cope with things — that when overwhelmed and worried, people prefer “easy” books, hence my recommendation for immersive.”

    I tend to re-read books in that case…. which means that unless it’s something I found and read once on KU I don’t buy a lot of absolutely new stuff. The exception is authors I’ve bought books from and liked.

    This means that for my buying habits now is not the best time to drop a favorite series.

  6. Sitting around the house typing and puttering around in the workshop by myself are what I do already. I pretty much go to the store and the gas station, that’s about it.

    I have noticed this year and last that since I don’t go to the movies anymore (because there’s nothing good on) I haven’t had the cold or the flu in quite some time. Maybe the odd sniffle, but not like I used to get where you’re in bed for two days and useless for three more afterward.

    Flying on airplanes, going to the movies, going to the mall, these are all things you don’t have to do anymore. Order off Amazon, pick up your groceries at Walmart instead of shopping for them, watch Korean soaps on Netflix, read The Phantom’s fabulous book on KUL (that’s where most people are getting it so far, shameless plug!) and stay the hell home.

    I’ve been worrying about the Level Five Containment and what I’m going to improvise for a rubber hazmat suit, but just now realized I’m already doing voluntary quarantine as a way of life. I hate being around people, they stress me out. A pleasant “good morning” from the cashier at the store and I’m good for a couple of days on human interaction.

    Writing keeps you sane when you’re crazy. ~:D

    1. Grocery pickup is now a thing at Fred Meyer, so I assume the other Kroger stores will have it, too.

      I did the periodic Costco run last week. Normally we’ll go every 3-4 months, but I’ll probably stretch it until I have to be in the area in 6 months. I try to avoid that place on Fridays, because it’s “take your sick kid shopping” day. It’s usually healthier Thursday and early Saturday.

  7. I’m approaching the time when we need to start buying product for the retail business, and I’m thinking very hard about how to hedge against the possibility that even cons that normally do well may flop for want of attendance, and that if things get really bad, cons may get canceled altogether — with no guarantee that our table or booth money will ever be refunded to us. Certainly I’m going to be very careful in my restocking, because the last thing we need right now is a big chunk of money tied up in product we can’t move. I may dig through the back of the warehouse for stuff we put aside because it wasn’t moving and price it to sell.

    On the writing front, I’m behind where I wanted to be, but that’s mostly because of the chaos of being in the middle of home repairs. At least the most involved part (the reframing of the roof) is finished, and I am able to work in my office. Once we get the last few things squared away and I can move everything back out here that’s piled in the rest of the house, I’m hoping I can finally get back up to speed again. It’s really hard to concentrate and maintain focus when your life is in disarray.

      1. I hope so. I’m supposed to go to [redacted] this summer, and I’d just as soon not have everything cancel at the last minute (which has happened before).

      2. I hope so, too – late May and June is when my daughter goes out to California to help my sister and brother-in-law with my bed-ridden mother. Mom is the one I am most worried about. She is in her 80ies, mostly paralyzed and bedridden. Never goes anywhere – but there are regular nurses to attend her as well.

      3. I’m hoping you’re right — we need this con season to be a good one — but I’m wanting to at least prepare for the possibility of the worst. I’ve been burned a few times when I really stocked up for a con I thought would be spectacular, and it turned out to be a bust and I had to pick up the pieces and find a way to pay the bills. I’d rather not have that happen at multiple cons this year.

      4. “HONESTLY? I think by May/June the panic will have fizzled out.”

        I wouldn’t count on that. Never let a crisis go to waste.

        “The news has spooked investors and impacted the stock market. Imagine my surprise that Dr. Nancy Messonnier has a deeply deep state connection in the form of her brother, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

        Meanwhile, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar gave a much calmer, more reasoned, and likely more factual risk assessment than Messonnier.”

        Hopefully people will see through it. Which is where writers like Sarah come in.

        1. One of the customers at the wholesale grocery place was freaking out over the mixed messages from CDC. (Phone conversation, but she was getting loud…) When we interrupted and told her the woe-is-us message came from R. Rosenstein’s sister, she perked up, (figuratively) spat and said “Oh, political again”.

          1. Which was my point in providing that link. And Sarah? Trump isn’t the direct target; they know he won’t care. The target is the voters like Pete’s acquaintance, or the ones who watched their 401ks take a 2000 point hit because the markets are being spooked.

            1. “Markets are being spooked”

              2/3 spooked.

              1. Spooked – A potential Sanders @ the top of the 2020 DNC ticket
              2. Spooked – Kung flu
              3. Not-Spooked – Looking to take money off the table from the unprecedented run up of the market over the last 3 years.
              4. Not-Spooked/Spooked – Companies whose anticipated slow down as they run out of needed items from their Asian sources stock downturn countered by the medical tools / industry whose stocks are upturn.

              But, yes. It is all President Trump’s fault. The market & the spread of the Kung Flu in Asia and throughout the world. /sarcasm-now-off-this-last-sentence.

                1. LOL 😆

                  Mind you, it is possible (if not likely) that Bernie will “burn out” in the up-coming primaries.

                  Of course, if so, his looney supporters would attempt to destroy the Democratic Party.

                  On the gripping hand, it couldn’t happen to a better party! 😈

  8. I’m not all the way to self quarantine, but a significant chunk of the way there.

    Kirk has speculated over on Chicagoboyz that COVID was the ‘really bad flu’ that has been going around in the US. Told him I had been thinking the same thing. I’ve met in person with a potential vector from China, and would not be surprised if I am recovering from COVID, or only had normal problems for me.

    So another two of your “unhappy when we are suspecting the same things” bellwethers are agreeing on the “don’t know what we don’t know”.

    And I’ve thought about doing a reincarnation isekai about where the guy dies when he is burned, alive and aware, by the Chinese government. Might be a bit too horrific an interpretation of stone monkey.

    1. I’ve thought that too. Particularly because post-viral syndrome is beating me up, right now.
      But yeah, recovering. I don’t have a known vector, but have friends in both retail and medicine, so….

    2. Add me as a three.

      Especially since the one the kids got– from the grandfather who smokes and works in an office with folks who visit China regularly– had them coughing so hard that two of them puked.

    3. Latest I’ve heard, they’d ID’d at least three different strains, meaning there isn’t a single vector. Was also thinking this could be something most of the West has already had, but is finally getting to China where for reasons isolation and genetic, it’s hitting harder and suddenly. (Reportedly Iran is getting hammered too. Africa oughta be ‘interesting’ as well.)

      Cuz the real problem isn’t that it’s so much more lethal than similar illnesses (it’s not) but that it’s novel (at least to some regions), so NO ONE has immunity and all the serious cases show up all at the same time (overwhelming the system), instead of scattered throughout the season.

      Vaccine would be nice.

      1. Weeeell, not exactly. The Wu flu doesn’t gum up your lungs with mucus goo; it beats up your lungs from the inside. So that is why a bad case needs a ventilator and such; it’s shortness of breath from damage.

    4. ‘Just got an email from the honorary grandparents in Washington– their whole retirement community (one of those that basically has a helper on call and you can level up to a live-in nurse) is getting over “the respiratory bug that is going around.”

      Put the husband in the hospital, and he’s on oxygen now….but he is not dead. And should recover, even though he was a seabee, from a very poor background, and is not in great health in the first place.

  9. Funny thing about humans. Most of us take some solace in that no matter how hard we have it, there are other people worse off than we are. And we like to watch, listen, or read stories about them. And most of us like stories that show it gets better in the end.

  10. Because of my Cataract Surgery (both eyes now complete & its “looking” good), I’ve been going to the Clinic weekly.

    They always ask if I’ve been “out of the country in the last 30? days”.

    I’ve been saying that I haven’t and include “especially not to China”. 😀

    Oh, yes I enjoy gallows humor. Why do you ask? 😉

  11. I actually worked in a bookstore on 9/11. That was a very grim, quiet day to be in retail.

    1. I was working at a Ross. We were actually pretty busy that day because they’d closed the mall across the way and we were in the major metropolitan area compared to a lot of the further out places, so some people had that set as their shopping day.

    2. The world’s coming to an end but you still need to show up for work.

      Maybe there’s a lesson in that . . .

      1. The lesson, which seems to elude so very many highly educated idiots these days, is that showing up for work is how you stop the end of the world.

        Just have a job and show up to do it. That’s the way we beat the Four Horsemen.

        1. And keep getting that paycheck, so you can pay the rent/mortgage, buy food, pay the electric bill . . .

          We could easily panic ourselves into a personal and world-wide financial disaster.

        2. Phantom, Phantom, Phantom, go to MGC. We have someone from Vancouver talking about how much worse US health is than Europe 😀
          Go on. You’ll have fun!
          Oh, also, we’re all going to die because we can’t be authoritarian like China.

  12. Current best available data is that COVID-19 infects 1/5th people who come into contact with a carrier and kills %3 of everyone who is infected. There are currently 7.8 billion people in the world. The best global pandemic death-toll estimate possible using simple math is 7.8 billion * 1/5 * 0.03 = 47 million dead. Whether that happens or not depends on multiple factors that are completely unknowable at this point.

    We can all be sure that many epidemiologists are working very hard to make better estimates; whether those figures are released to the public is anyone’s guess. High estimates will likely be kept secret out of fear of provoking a mass panic.

    The economic impacts are already happening. The bottom is falling out of the cargo industry, with rates for some kinds of ocean cargo having fallen by 80%, due to production halts in China. Whether there are longer-term economic consequences depends on how long the Chinese economy is put on pause and whether COVID-19 harms enough workers to slow industry due to staff loss.

    I expect the US to fare considerably *worse* than Europe because healthcare is less widely available in the US (particularly for service workers who have extensive contact with the public) and economic insecurity in the US (particularly for service workers who have extensive contact with the public) means sick people can’t afford to miss work. When someone working at McDonalds gets sick and has a choice between going to work or becoming homeless, they’re going go to work. When someone working at McDonalds gets COVID-19 but still has to go to work to survive, the result will be a lot of McDonalds customers with COVID-19. European economic dynamics are different and are more likely to allow infected people to go into isolation, which will reduce the rate of disease spread.

    Places without economic safety nets or the ability to institute Chinese-style draconian quarantine measures will be hit hardest, of course. The death toll in places like India and the urbanized but dirt poor parts of Africa (e.g. Lagos) could be utterly horrific.

    1. Are you high or something?
      Health care is less available in the US? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.
      Remember I lived both places, you insane goofball.
      Also, no. And no. And no.
      Let me see…. are you one of those with an IP from Moscow?
      Because you know what? ALL your assumptions are wrong. Everything you just typed is full of fucking stupid. ALL OF IT.

      1. He is a Vancouverite? Yeah, they really believe that silliness up here. Part of the “Hey look at us! We are morally superior to the US” thing they have going on. Never change Vancouver, never change.

        1. Here’s a funny thing about Vancouver. When in the US, I work with homeless people. This past summer, during an Alaska cruise, we ended up in Vancouver, and took a tour.
          I was frankly shocked by the number of homeless people there. And by the people I saw shooting up on the sidewalk. And the trash.
          I should also mention I work in the third world, and am no stranger to trashed cities.

      2. Well one location that is panicking over revenue loss is NW corner of Wyoming (Yellowstone), because the foreign tours are already canceling. Yellowstone gets a LOT of Asian sourced tour groups.

        Knowing our luck they will be back up & visiting by the time we are there in September. Not that it is a big deal for us as we will be in campgrounds & avoiding Old Faithful boardwalk itself (not because of Kung Flu but because of the bus tours, regardless of origin).

        1. Hmmm. I suppose that might mean that I–a resident Wyomingite–might have a shot at seeing Yellowstone without waiting for hours/days in line to get into the park…?

          (I haven’t been to Yellowstone since 1987, when I was a small child. The thing I remember most about it? Waiting in a line of cars to get in…)

          1. We might get caught in the gate traffic first day, otherwise, we’ll have the trailer. Already have our reservations: Five days in Madison, five in Grant, then we’ll head south to GTNP.

            Doubt there still won’t be lines as the buses generally don’t show in the entrance camera’s lines.

          1. In fairness, we did export a fair number of our radicals to Canada back in the late 60s through 70s. And a fair number never came back.

        1. And from Van. The only Canadians more provincial than Vancouverites are Torontonians.

    2. Dude? Really? Oh-dark-thirty Sunday, pain getting worse. Picked which of three equidistant ER’s to go to.

      Walked in at 4AM. Walked out at 6AM after an IV for dehydration, a CT scan “Yep, kidney stone,” prescriptions in hand. All billed to which ever insurance was appropriate.

      “Less widely available” my ass.

      1. Also, note “best current data” is bullshit the WHO is spinning, that was pulled from China’s and Iran’s ass.
        I wonder how someone that gullible manages to walk out of his house without giving away his bank account to the first person who ASKS.

        1. Trust no data coming out of China. Xi is in an undisclosed location, and he’s still likely to lose the Mandate of Heaven over this coming on the heels of the HK protests. And here in the States, you cannot legally be turned away from the ER.

      2. “Less widely-available.”

        Let’s examine that.

        *On the one hand we have places like the UK, Canada, etc. where wait times for procedures are in the months, such as one recent story going around about the guy stuck in the hospital for months because his surgery for a broken bone kept getting cancelled, but if he left the hospital he’d lose his spot entirely. Throw in the US ending up taking a lot of that pressure off, in the form of medical tourism, people being denied for being ‘overweight’, ‘racist’ or because their chances weren’t good enough. (How many heart-breaking stories have there been the last year or so out of England about infants? I know one of them came here, got the surgery, and lived, another was basically imprisoned in the hospital, despite the Pope personally offering to have the baby flown to Italy for treatment.

        *On the other we have places like China where care is substandard, rationed, and often at the hands of insufficiently trained people.

        *On the gripping hand we have America, which certainly has its problems, especially after more meddling from the government in recent years. America, where no one can be denied treatment at a hospital (which is in part why prices are so high, its covering everyone else) and where common people routinely donate time and money to help others.

        Personally I’d much rather have a system where I can get my baby any treatment she needs, even if I have to ask friends and strangers for help paying for it, than a system where they decide the cost is too high and prevent her from receiving treatment at all.

        Oh, and that’s after disarming us, of course, because no joking if hospitals here tried to deny the rights of parents to take their babies elsewhere for better treatment there would be armed standoffs. Thankfully they seem to realize that and don’t try in the first place.

      3. Saw a meme about how “capitalism” means that folks can’t afford to do the right thing and pay to get tested, then pay for 3 weeks of self-quarantine.

        Uh…as opposed to communism, which is locking down entire cities and leaving people to die in beds?

        1. Yep. And welding doors down with people inside.
          Look, it’s not that we can’t afford to test, it’s that the same CDC they’re blaming Trump from defunding SHIPPED BAD TESTS TO THE STATES.

      4. Similar story for me. Couple of years ago I had a bad reaction to the *new* *improved* pneumonia vaccine (complete with extra side-effects). Lucky me, I was an early recipient.

        I was in a hotel 100 miles from home (doing a pre-op visit for an upcoming eye procedure). Went to the nearest urgent care center (1 mile from hotel) at 8PM. Closing time was 9PM–didn’t want to bother the ER people. Got out at 9:30-10P after a throat swab (flu was bad that season and the symptoms were close) and a chest X-ray.

        The next morning I got a call and a phoned prescription for antibiotic because the X-ray looked dicey. The only cash expense was for the medications, because I didn’t opt into the portion of Medicare that covers such. The sales record says $56, and that included some OTC stuff, too. That was my sole expense

    3. Are you fucking kidding me? I live in the DFW area. I’ve seen the local medical establishment and local governments pull together during the ebola crisis a few years ago I’ve worked in hospitals and my mother retired from one. It doesn’t matter who you are or whether you have insurance or not. You will get treated if you go to ER. Guess what, you stupid idiot? Our hospitals, especially county hospitals, treat more than their fair share of indigent patients, no matter what the problem.

      As for the rest of your stupid acceptance of propaganda coming our about the virus, grow the fuck up. When they start saying that a certain percentage of people exposed to Covid will get it, that is at best a guess. Why? Because they don’t know. Hell, son, they aren’t completely sure about incubation time yet. They are still trying to figure out why the elderly are being harder hit by it and children don’t seem to.

      Do us all a favor. Quit believing everything you see on TV.

      1. “Are you fucking kidding me? I live in the DFW area. I’ve seen the local medical establishment and local governments pull together during the ebola crisis a few years ago I’ve worked in hospitals and my mother retired from one. It doesn’t matter who you are or whether you have insurance or not. You will get treated if you go to ER. Guess what, you stupid idiot? Our hospitals, especially county hospitals, treat more than their fair share of indigent patients, no matter what the problem.”

        THIS. Good God, DFW (and Texas in general) has more doctors and hospitals than surrounding states. Why? Well, for example, they implemented some basic tort reforms over a decade ago. They have to beat doctors off with a stick precisely BECAUSE they got the government out of the way.

    4. Dear lord, what a hive of the Dunning-Kruger effect this comment section is.

      Everyone who is dealing with this outbreak knows that the Chinese numbers are bullshit because the Chinese lie about everything to save face. Everyone who’s dealing with this outbreak knows that numbers from Africa are bullshit because African states don’t have the capacity to collect these kinds of statistics much less provide meaningful healthcare to their populations. Everyone who’s dealing with this outbreak also knows that American numbers are bullshit because the American public health surveillance system has more holes than a sieve because so many Americans can’t afford to go to the doctor. However, the numbers we have are the best guesses available and it is entirely prudent to use them to make ballpark estimates on where this outbreak could go.

      From a pandemic risk perspective, the problem with American healthcare is all the infected people who will avoid seeking primary care soon soon enough because they can’t spare the money for their deductables, co-pays, or afford time off work. By avoiding doctors, these people will slip under the radar of public health bodies and will be left loose in the community where they will continue to spread the infection to other people–even to those with good jobs and good health insurance. Those patients to get sick enough to need emergency care might eventually get it through an ER, but by that point they will have infected tens, hundreds, or even thousands of others, and might be too sick to save.

      Even if you have good insurance and can afford time off work to see a doctor, it’s not your circumstances you need to worry about. It’s the circumstances of all the people who serve and make your food, stock your grocery stores, clean your offices, work your cash registers, and otherwise perform menial but essential jobs. These workers have indirect contact with thousands of other people others a day, and when one of them gets ill, they can infect thousands of others.

      America is ripe for a pandemic because you, as a country, don’t think of access to healthcare for the entire population as a collective security problem. You don’t care about the consequences of the underclass of service workers getting sick, but guess what: facts don’t care about your feelings. If there is a pandemic in America, it will spread through the legions of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and have no effective access to non-emergency heath care and that disease base will put even well-heeled Americans at risk.

      Even for the class of Americans with very good health insurance, the consequences of a pandemic could be financially catastrophic. The leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States is medical debt, and most medical bankruptcies happen to people with health insurance. Well-cared for Americans who catch a severe case of COVID-19 could survive but be financially ruined by medical bills. If this happens on a wide enough scale, there will be profound, negative, long-term consequences for economic growth.

      Nobody knows how bad COVID-19 will be, but waving your American flag around won’t make the problem go away. Viruses, like facts, don’t care about your feelings.

      1. WE’RE Dunning Kruger?
        What a complete idiot you are.
        No, idiot doesn’t cover it. You’re a complete and totally brainless moron.
        Our American flag has zero to do with it. Your complete insanity has nothing to do with it either.
        you’ve bought a load of shit, and are surprised the people who LIVE IN THE FUCKING COUNTRY don’t guy it.
        As for “The leading cause of bankruptcy?” Bullshit. Also bullshit.
        it was used in the Obama campaign. it was also pulled from ass.
        Fuck off. No, seriously, fuck off. You’re tedious.

        1. And even when medical bankruptcies happen, they’re not the end of the world. I have a cousin who had to declare bankruptcy after a hospital refused to work with him on a repayment plan, and no, he and his family are not starving in the gutter. They went through some years of straitened circumstances, but they’re back on their feet and living a normal life.

          The point of modern bankruptcy is not to strip the person of everything and leave them on a street corner with a barrel to cover their nakedness. It’s to allow a person to recover from overwhelming debt. In fact, most people don’t even have to give up most of their possessions when declaring Chapter 7 — they have to leave you one vehicle and the tools of your trade, and most people’s furniture and personal possessions have only garage-sale value and would cost more to seize and resell than could be realized.

          (I don’t have statistics to hand, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the leading cause of bankruptcy is business failure. The freedom to start our own business is the freedom to fail at business. Even then, it’s often a temporary setback rather than permanent penury. Lots of owners of failed business ventures spend a few years working for someone else, then start a new business. Sometimes they fail multiple times before succeeding).

          1. “In fact, most people don’t even have to give up most of their possessions when declaring Chapter 7 — they have to leave you one vehicle and the tools of your trade, and most people’s furniture and personal possessions have only garage-sale value and would cost more to seize and resell than could be realized.

            They can’t take your primary residence either; can not put you onto the street. Heck if people are *smart about it, courts can’t benefit from taking any vehicles; can make you give them up, but creditor’s get nothing. The point is to insure there is no value between what is owed on anything of value VS the residual value.

            They can’t touch 401(k)/Roth/IRA/state-college-funds, either. Note, the few I’ve known to go through personal (non-medical) Chapter 7, didn’t have the above accounts, but it was mentioned, those sources of money are off the table. Also can’t touch money in children’s names. Something about forcing hardship penalties because of the source of the money was not allowed. *NOTE* – not a lawyer, so don’t know if this is true or not. People in question were noting that if they’d had those accounts that money would have been protected. Plus we heard about their chapter 7 filing well after it occurred. Basis for Chapter 7 filing abuses …yes, point?

          2. Sounds a lot better than the system in my country – Finland – where you can’t declare personal bankruptcy. There is the rule that debts age out, and you can stop paying after a certain period of time, but those times are rather long, starting from 15 years and up to 25 years. Until then, if you earn something you will also pay, at least something, or it will be, sooner or later, taken by force.

            BTW, having that nice socialized healthcare doesn’t really help all that much when it comes to something like stop somebody like a cleaner from spreading the disease. You start spreading a virus like that before and even if you don’t have serious symptoms, and do you think I’d get sick leave from sneezing a bit from my nearest health center? Probably not. Or if I did would it be something like a day or two, and come again if the symptoms last or worsen? And do you think they’d even test for something like that coronavirus with somebody who hasn’t been abroad or personally dealing with somebody who has been recently right now? Nope. Way too expensive.

            So I do use disposable gloves when working, but let’s say I happen to wipe some sweat off my face right after emptying the wastepaper baskets, some with used tissues, a couple which I had to pick from the floor, and then, some week or two later, still do several offices even if sneezing a little and feeling somewhat under the weather because I can’t have sick leave, at least not paid, and besides if I just stop comign to work I’d be fired if I did it without that paper from that health center, which they may not give me at all unless I have a bit more serious symptoms, and besides I am not going to go there unless I am sure I can get it, and more than that day or two because I probably have to wait at least a few hours there before I can be seen, possibly a lot longer, and besides, that free health care isn’t completely free and I am damned if I will pay what takes more than a few hours of work to get the money for unless I am certain I will get that damn sick leave and for at least three or four days.

      2. So, coronavirus wouldn’t be a problem only if we had universal healthcare? Be more circumspect with the pablum you spout. You’re going to ruin your credibility is gonna take a massive hit. A hit such that people will dismiss what you have to say about almost anything. This presupposes you’ll have anything worth listening to in the future. Tell Bernie I said hello.

          1. He’s 100% normal for North Vancouver. This is what they actually think.

            You want to know why we can’t get a fucking pipeline built in Canada, or open a new oil sands mine? This guy. He’s why. Him and the rest of the disinformed, mal-educated hipsters in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

            He really thinks people are dying in the streets of Small Town America because they got kicked out of the hospital after their insurance ran out. That’s all he ever hears in the Canadian media and its all he ever heard at university.

            It took me an entire year of living in New York state to finally understand the extent to which I’d been lied to my entire life in Canada by government and media alike. Not because the American media is so truthful, I hasten to add, because they’re very much not. But the lies are -different-, they don’t match up.

            Mr. Nobody has never left the mushroom farm for long enough to have the lies become obvious to him.

            1. It’s a complete and thorough LIE.
              I mean, seriously. We spend 6k on average PER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT who shows up in our ER. And that’s average, because most of our long term beds are used up by these people who bring in medieval diseases. And we treat them. Which pushes up our costs, which then OUR socialists like Mr. “Nobody Home” use to justify spending more money on the people they want to allow in with no check at the border.
              Also I think you misspoke. That creature fails to think or examine his assumptions in any sense.

            2. BTW people in Europe ALSO believe we’re all dying on the streets. ALSO that we have shoot outs on the street routinely, and all have “bad neighborhood in Chicago” levels crime. AND ALSO that we’re starving in the gutter, because of those rigged “hunger in America” studies.
              There’s a critter over at ATH talking about how government is fear or some such rot.
              Well, the lefty governments of Europe and Canada DO work by fear. They convince their people we live in a dystopian nightmare, because if their people ever found out the truth, they’d dismantle the pinko-socialist regimes that make them live in crap with their bare hands. Or an ax. And the light poles would be decorated all across their lands.

              1. From experience with European, Canadian and to some extent even Aussie acquaintances: yes, they really do. (Most Aussies don’t or are willing to listen)

                Oh, and a surprising number of Europeans, if they find out the truth: suddenly try to emigrate

                Go ahead, ask me for my theory on what that means

                1. Well, most Aussies start from the theory that all politicians are corrupt wannabe dictators, so anyone who chooses to agree with them is somewhat suspect. Then there’s that anti-authority streak that’s half the continent wide.

            3. BTW the view of the world you describe, Amanda Green and I have slapped a newbie writer from that region for before. Note she never asked us how things worked in the US. The first post is Amanda’s. It has my name, because I did the importing from the old blog. The second is mine. Skim for the references to US health care. We were so ridiculously shocked by it and the author’s unwillingness to listen to what we KNEW was right that we used it as examples on the blog (without naming names.) So she stopped talking to us, of course.
              I DID NOT realize this was a widespread view:



              SERIOUSLY. Don’t these people ever THINK? If it were that bad here, wouldn’t all emergency rooms in Canada be filled with Americans? Wouldn’t we be running of to Mexico for treatment? Flying to Europe?
              I mean, there are no guards KEEPING US IN.
              Again, don’t these people THINK? At all? in any sense of the word?

              1. People run to Mexico, et al, for Elective Surgery , that insurance won’t cover, not critical care; and it is surprising what elective surgery is covered.

                I pay more out of pocket for our pets than we do for our personal medical.

                  1. But come on, Sarah, think of all the money you saved! ~:D

                    I knew a kid from my personal circle in my home neighborhood who died in a Mexican hospital. Died of something he would very definitely -not- have died of in a Canadian hospital.

                  2. “it’s also amazing how often those surgeries are botched in Mexico compared to here.”

                    And are preformed on people who really shouldn’t have had them.

                    The case I know of is a husband/wife pair. They had the weight loss procedures that limit food intake (not sure which one, stomach or intestines). Barely know him, don’t know her, but according to him, both have and are loosing weight. He tolerated the procedure & the process. Her? No. She is now (or last I’d heard) so disabled that she can’t work, can’t take care of the household & their kids, & is regularly in either hospital for stabilization medically, or for depression. To complicate the situation, no doctor, or medical facility, in the US, will do anything more that stabilize medically because no one wants the medical liability that comes from the fact the procedure was done in Mexico.

                  3. I’ve lived in Mexico. Beautiful place, largely nice people. No way would in hell would I voluntarily go there for anything resembling medical treatment.

                  1. Ditto. Which is why I brought it up. Got the joy of taking animals to the emergency vet, two times lately. First one we knew was coming, just timing meant trip to emergency vet rather than let an elderly cat drown as her body failed her. The other one, not expected – dog got a painful infection … couldn’t really wait for our regular vet hours.

                    Now need to make regular vet appointments for one cat’s 3 year visit (important because the important Rabies vax is due). Plus the dog’s annual is due (important because we hike & the vax’s to protect her there are annual). Sigh.

                    Then there are the anti flea meds. Sure could go cheap, but kid & I are both allergic to bug bites. Best medical invention ever!!!

                    What not have animals? Who ever speaks that are barbarians … Others, YMMV.

                    1. Less than $600. I mean it is $70 just to walk in the emergency vet’s door; x2. But yes, seems to go in cycles. Cross fingers. Current animals are 3, 5, & 7. We are out of the pet elderly care for awhile, at least.

                    2. So would you be interested in a Thirteen year old female Beagle?

                      Health is still good.

                      Admittedly, she has a bad habit of wanting attention when I’m sleeping and it isn’t just “I need to go outside”. 😀

                      Seriously, while I’m tempted to “throw her into the backyard” (which the apartment building doesn’t have), I’m still keeping her. 😀

                    3. “Admittedly, she has a bad habit of wanting attention when I’m sleeping and it isn’t just “I need to go outside”.”

                      My Pom/Chi starts pawing, nudging, licking in ear, pushing out of bed, that means “mom you need to get up, now!” She does a low grumble/mini-bark when she needs me to get up so she can go outside. The former? I’ll keep her. It is her job. Disruptive. Irritating. But she hasn’t abused it for the rewards she earns because of it.

                    4. $500 for the two visits, though the new food is spendy. OTOH, the canned food is $3.50 per can (lasts a week) versus $9.00(!) on line, and the kibble is only about 2X as expensive as the normal stuff Younger Dog eats.

                      Elder: 15 years
                      Younger: 13 next month.

                      Expectancy is unknown for both, though for Elder, we’re always happy to see her wake up. Younger (the B.C.) announces to $SPOUSE when she’s ready to go outside. When it’s urgent, she’ll get loud enough so I can hear her in the other room. Unfortunately, same bark for a) I gotta go, b) Sis has to go, c) There’s Critters outside. On the gripping hand, she can tell if a mountain lion is in the vicinity and that behavior is obvious.

                  2. We really liked the emergency vet (saw her twice for initial pancreas attack and the repeat), and was planning to shift Elder Dog to that practice, but said vet has moved on, and don’t know where. The emergency practice has a lot of turnover, partly because of Sunday hours. OTOH, they stock the low-fat food she now needs. (And cheaper than online.)

                    We’ll update our regular but overworked vet (he was the #2 vet at our regular place until #1 retired, and he hasn’t hired another vet to help out) but over. Rabies, distemper and leptovirus shots are due next month. We’re not in flea territory, so that’s not an issue.

              2. “Again, don’t these people THINK? At all? in any sense of the word?”

                You remember that experiment where they took away the little monkey’s mothers and gave them a wire frame with a bottle in it? When the babies grew up a bit they would huddle together and never do anything but eat. No exploring, no hunting, no playing. Just huddling and shivering.

                That’s what this is. He’s been told what to think and he believed it so hard he can’t go outside it. He’s a together-together monkey. (Don’t look that up, its nauseating.) Damaged by his upbringing. Huddling with his friends in coffee shops and comforting himself that Big Momma is going to cover his tab if things go wrong.

                I see this guy’s clones ALL THE TIME. Because I live here, right? If you go to any financial institution, lawyer’s office, doctor’s office, government agency, he’s there. In fashionable bars downtown in Toronto, Americans are viewed with distaste. People think Americans are low-class, sibling marrying hillbillies with bad teeth. Orange Man Bad. Ronald Raygun bad. BOOSH!!!!

                The real problem with this guy is not that he’s stupid or un-thoughtful or untalented. He’s likely got a masters or maybe a professional degree.

                He’s in a box. All his thought and mental effort is expended on thinking up new/better/different ways to stay INSIDE the box. He’s really good at it.

                What makes me different from him mostly is my lack of social circuitry. I’m not a comfy little huddle-monkey, I’m a weirdo. I say weird things and I look funny. They literally kicked me out of the box, and won’t let me back in no matter what I do.

                Now I’m stuck out here with the rest of you goats. Life is a little harder, but the company is better. ~:D

              3. Read those two links, the first example sounds like Queen Bee who fancies herself a writer. The second, “write what you know,” the comments are amazing. The “stay in your lane” pressure you noted in 2015 has become death threats and cancelled book tours in 2020.


                Down in the comments there’s mostly me taunting the Vile666 crowd to man-up and take a stand. None of them did, shock surprise.

                To the stay in your lane crowd, I have a question: How can a man write a “boy meets girl” story under your rules? All we can write is “dude calls up dude, they go hang out and talk about cars all day.”

                Personally, I’m more “Boy meets werewolf. They fall in love and slay demons together while fending off amorous advances from cheeky robots. And aliens, they’re in there too. The aliens were a bit shocked, to be honest.”

                I’m more off-road-doing-wheelies than stay-in-my-lane. And stoppies, those are fun too.

      3. Canadian here, Mr. Nobody. Did you really just say: “American numbers are bullshit because the American public health surveillance system has more holes than a sieve because so many Americans can’t afford to go to the doctor.”

        Wow. You’re an NDP voter from North Van, right? I’m betting you drive either a Tesla or a Prius. Have you ever even been in the USA? It is not like what you’re saying.

        Oh and by the way. If you think the Canadian healthcare system is going to save your butt, take yourself down to local ER sometime and see how things are going. I’ve been in and out of the Trillium hospital in Mississauga a couple times the last month, and the lack of anything even resembling infection control is terrifying. They don’t even wipe the tables at Tim Horton’s in the lobby. I watched them not wipe anything for hours. The wards are so much worse.

        Patient Zero for Canada showed up in Mississauga, in case you were wondering.

        Do you remember SARS? I do, I was in and out of hospitals that whole time. We were extremely lucky, not extremely competent.

        Suggest you stock up on gloves and canned soup, big boy. Lots and lots of people arriving from Mainland China at Vancouver airport every single day.

        1. When I was looking at the SARS numbers I noted that, outside China, the worst results in terms of infections and dead was in Canada. I did some digging, because I thought that curious.

          Yeah… the story of Patient Zero isn’t too out there, got it abroad, stayed home, died there. Patient A, B, and C who got it from 0, THAT was terrifying in the number of mistakes and screwups there were.

          (To be fair to them, though, the first few cases were before there was any notification about SARS being a possibility, so they weren’t looking for it. Them letting family in – some showing signs of a fever themselves – into ICU to visit Patient A WAS their fault.)

        2. Don’t remind me – I am in Langley, have a 7 month old, and had planned to visit family in Mtl for Passover.

      4. Try and getbinto a walkin clinic in the Van area anytime after 2pm. Go on, try.

        They pay directly for their care down there, but at least theyvcam get it in a timely fashion

        Sent from Workspace ONE Boxer

      5. Hey, look! Somebody got a buzz phrase to try to accuse folks of being stupid– and they don’t understand the actual term!

        For heaven’s sake, bother to do a few seconds of searching on engine of your choice, and then at least attempt to read the charts that come up.

        Here is a very basic primer, which has the additional benefit of a link to the original paper:

        The concept is based on a 1999 paper
        by Cornell University psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger. The pair tested participants on their logic, grammar, and sense of humor, and found that those who performed in the bottom quartile rated their skills far above average. For example, those in the 12th percentile self-rated their expertise to be, on average, in the 62nd percentile.

        This tendency may occur because gaining a small amount of knowledge in an area about which one was previously ignorant can make them feel as though they’re suddenly virtual experts. Only after continuing to explore a topic do people often realize how extensive it is and how much they still have to master.

        Yes, it is a study long quote from Socrates.

      6. Seems to me the only one suffering from Dunning-Kruger effect is yourself. I don’t think you realize the work, education, and professional histories of the people here. Speaking only for myself, I hold 3 science degrees, one of which is a Masters. I have 22 years of military experience, including copious amounts of NBC training, and running a decontamination team. I’ve done Red Cross first aid training enough that I can teach it in my sleep. I’ve been working as a health care analyst for nearly 20 years. And I’m probably one of the dumber ones here.

        Have you ever heard of the term, EMTALA? You might want to look it up before you say anything else about American healthcare.

        Oh, and waiting a day or two at home before going to the ED is still safer than spending those two days in a hospital waiting room or hallway waiting to even be seen.

      7. Like there’s a health care system anywhere in the world that makes it easy for people to miss work when they can be fired for it.

    5. Healthcare is less widely available.

      Healthcare is freaking everywhere. My shithole town has a massive hospital, dozens of doctors, and a pile of doc-in-a-box setups. And I live in one of the poorest communities in the nation.

      No, healthcare is plentiful here. What’s not available as readily is free healthcare, but even that is available. Many hospitals have programs to help with indigent treatment, after all.

      Of course, the lack of free healthcare also means that there won’t be weeks-long waits as the system gets overwhelmed.

      But you know what? Live in your little delusion.

      1. I worked in county hospitals in Yonkers NY and Mt. Vernon NY, two of the most crime-riddled places in New York State.

        The neighborhoods were -bad-.

        Those two county hospitals had -bad- reputations. I would rate them as about equal to Trillium hospital in Mississauga. Maybe a bit cleaner. Other hospitals in the area were so much better and nicer.

        The VA that every American complains about? About equal to first-line Canadian hospitals, right down to the bureaucracy and red tape.

        1. “The VA that every American complains about?”

          Serves, what? Maybe 1% of the US population? How well will government medical work when it has to serve 110% of the US population?

          Oh, yea, all we have to look at is Canada & England.

          No thank you.

          1. England, contrary to some -idiots- in Canada, has a two tier system. There is the private, for profit system which we never hear about, and then there is the NHS from which we hear outrage after outrage.

            ALL of Canada is the VA/NHS. There is zero private care. With predictable results. Just take everything that sucks about the VA and expand it to the whole population.

            Two other countries have this system: North Korea and Cuba.

            When we say that Bernie Saunders is a fruitloop, this is one of the reasons why. He wants to confiscate -all- the private medical establishment in the USA and have the government run it. For efficiency, you know.

            1. Finland also has a two tier system, and one of my jobs has decent occupational health care from a private provider – except they don’t do everything for you, and what they do has been kind of shrinking slowly through the years – the other employer doesn’t and we need to get those sick leave papers from the health centers, or from the ER. Which can often mean hours of waiting sitting next to a lot of other sick people having who knows what, as of course the severe cases, and usually children, have precedence, and especially during the weekends there can be a LOT of those. Also, often enough the health center doesn’t have time for the people wanting sick leave, so you have often enough have to go to the ER also on weekdays when the health centers are open (you have a designated one based on where you live, usually you can also only use that one. And the ER).

              The whole public system tends to be rather overwhelmed most of the time. You CAN get good care WHEN what you have is obvious and easy to treat, meaning the procedure needed is also obvious, but can become a hell of waiting when it’s not obvious, unless and until it becomes bad enough to either be obvious or obviously life-threatening at least, after which they may start to do more to find out what’s wrong.

              People do die waiting. And you may have to live a big part of your life, if not all of it, never in optimal health because you have a problem which is not obvious, or could be found out with a few simple lab tests. Personally, it seems relatively likely I have some sort of problem or problems with my thyroid, at least I have more than two-thirds of the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism, but it has been completely impossible for me to get the full panel tests because my T4 falls within limits, if often just barely. And because our whole system, including the private care sector, IS centrally controlled, and for decades now things involving the thyroid seem to be mostly in the hands of ONE powerful “expert” who has certain opinions it seems to be close to impossible to get those full panel tests, and even harder to get the treatment for something like reverse T3 in this country because that central control has been systematically hounding doctors who used to give those treatments out of the profession, several have even lost their license to practice medicine altogether, and others no longer can treat thyroid patients. So you just can’t find a doctor willing to help you.

              Yep. Works just great, doesn’t it?

              1. Lack of access to diagnostics is a huge issue here in the Demented Dominion. Imaging particularly is closely rationed.

                In the USA you can lease a truck with a CAT scanner and an MRI in it and make a fortune driving around to rural hospitals providing scheduled imaging services. Tuesdays in Podunk, Wednesdays in Hayseed, etc.

                In Canada this is -illegal-. Not only can you not get paid for this service by OHIP or whatever province you are in, you can’t provide it privately. There are no licenses for mobile imaging services.

                But you can do it for large animals. So there are horse-sized MRI machines out there running around, and you can get your pet horse an MRI for hundreds, not thousands of dollars.

                Or you you can drive to Buffalo NY and BUY an MRI of whatever body part ails you in a state of the art machine.

                So many people have been doing that that last few years that OHIP has stopped accepting foreign imaging for diagnostics. They won’t read them.

                The reason for rationing tests is simple. Given that you are sick, if they do the test probably they’ll find something. Then you will have a -diagnosis- and they will be forced to treat it.

                No diagnosis, no problem. Just another cost to the system they can avoid.

                In socialized medicine, patient + diagnosis = cost to the system. That’s the equation that Bernie Saunders doesn’t want you to know about.

                In a fee-for-service model, patient + diagnosis = profit. That is the model you want to have.

                1. YES.

                  And no central control, at least not the kind where one person can become a dictator telling not to something or do only certain procedures or describe only certain medicines just because he happens to have the opinion that that’s the way it should be done, for whatever reason – in Finland it might be because of costs, or that man maybe is one of those who gets stuck with one opinion for the rest of his life because he is unable to admit that maybe he has made a mistake, or because he once got into a fight with somebody who had some other opinion and when then got the power to force everybody, including his “enemies” to submit just keeps doing it. Or maybe he is getting paid by some corporation. Nobody knows. Could be anything. But because of the way our system works here he got to be the dictator in that one thing, and he has used his power badly.

                  Some years ago I started reading thyroid patient forums, and going through every article I found about thyroid treatments in Finland, did that for several months and was rather shocked… and the situation seems to be pretty much the same today. Most Finns would probably praise our system to you because, as said, it can work just fine. For certain things. And most people don’t need to deal with it all that often, and those who deal mostly just trustingly assume that everything possible has been done for them. People in general mostly just complain about the lines.

                  So the potentially bigger problems have stayed under the radar, for most. And the situation of course does not change because the populace at large just assumes that we have an excellent health care system. Because that is what they read in the papers, and see on television, and mostly come across online…

                1. Thanks. I have tried it before and yes, it does seem to help, but using it is a bit scary as too much seems to be potentially an even bigger problem than too little and the recommended amounts seem to vary depending on the source quite a bit.

                  1. Probably because people appear to vary in their needs. I’ve heard of a guy who had to take a 1000% of the RDA to get good effects. . . .

                    But it is very hard to work out the right dose yourself.

            2. Dude, we even had one of our own courts (in Quebec of all places) declare it to be a human rights violation.

              1. I remember. Pretty much a no-brainer decision, rationing health services -is- a human rights violation.

                Sadly, Canadians are not sovereign citizens with rights. We are SUBJECTS of the Sovereign, and only have privileges.

  13. Read reports a while back from a credible source that surveyed the parking lots of medical facilities in a 50 mile band extending south from the US Canadian border. Amazing how many Canadian plated vehicles were noted.
    See, with and flavor of NHS medical issues are handled well just so long as they are not time critical or require specialized treatment. Need an MRI, either wait several weeks/months or jump the border for same day service in the US. Need cutting edge drug treatment, schedule a vacation in the US and just happen to visit your pick of facilities specializing in just that very same treatment protocol.
    Just be able to afford the bill of course, for immediate state-of-the-art medical treatment.
    And American medical facilities are required by law to provide emergency treatment to anyone presenting themselves to their location. They will of course attempt to get payment, but that’s a separate matter with their billing department and has no bearing on the ability of the patient to pay.

  14. The US may have one of the most advanced set of capabilities for dealing with a budding pandemic, but we may be partly done in by HIPPA. A couple of years ago someone who worked in the building I worked in was diagnosed with TB. They said, “Be sure to get yourself tested if you’ve had contact with this person.”

    “OK,” I responded, “Who is it?”

    “We can’t tell you that.”

    “So everybody in the building then?”


    Not the absurd and useless overkill of the PRC sending trucks to spray chlorine all over the streets, but not very efficient either. If resources get tight, it could get sticky. And, of course, don’t forget the, “If you want to quarantine anyone, you’re an evil racist (or homo-/Islamo-/photo-/whateverphobe.”

      1. Yep, I called my congress critter and suggested they might want to make a privacy exception when dealing with infectious diseases. The sound of crickets in return was deafening.

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