Category Archives: Social

It’s What We’re All Talking About…

On 17th of March I posted on here that the number of confirmed global cases of Covid-19 was over 180,000, and that the number of deaths had passed 7,000. Thirteen days later and those numbers are now over 740,000 and more than 35,000 respectively. These are frighteningly large numbers, and they will get a lot bigger.

I am now off work for twelve weeks as a result of the furlough plan that the UK government has put in place. It wasn’t my idea, but once it was presented to me it quickly became apparent that it was the most sensible move to make. Nobody quite know how it works – least of all, my manager – but effectively I will be paid 80% of my wage to sit at home and ride this thing out… well, that is certainly the plan. Watch this space.

It’s a difficult time for everyone, not least of all the families and friends of those who have sadly died, or are currently suffering, as a result of the coronavirus. Everyone who reads this will have been touched by the restrictions that the virus has forced upon the world, and we all have to do the right thing and get through this together, so the less we all jump on the bandwagon and bitch about cabin fever or how we are becoming a nation of depressed zombies because we can’t go out, when we all stay inside on our tablets and mobiles anyway, the better we will all be.

There is no need to panic or raid the supermarkets for all that they have, but we do have to be careful by interacting with as few people as possible, and washing our hands often. You don’t have to agree with the politics of those who are telling you to do so, but – come on, folks – a little common sense is not beyond you.

Future History…

I thought about coming on here and trying to bring a little levity to this coronaviral situation, but at the point of writing there has been over 180,000 diagnosed cases and more than 7,000 deaths as a result of this, and those numbers are increasing all the time and rapidly. So I don’t feel much like cracking wise.

Disneyland is closed; pubs in Ireland are closed, (over St. Patrick’s Day, no less); concerts all over the world have been cancelled. Hell, many cities are off limits and a growing number of countries are locked down entirely. Businesses and governments have not gone to these lengths for shits an’ gigs, or without serious consideration. This is not a drill, people. This is the real deal.

There is enough rice and pasta for everyone. Bread and milk is plentiful if we all just buy what we need and not encourage stupidity by manufacturing a shortage. You really don’t need all of those Ibuprofen or paracetamol, and all those cereals and biscuits are not going to help either.

Remember, there are those who can’t get to the stores as often or as readily as many of us can, and a lot of us are being selfish with our purchasing and leaving shelves empty for those who really need it or are simply trying to buy a regular supply for their household.

Most of us have jobs we need, and all of us have people we care about. So let’s try to stay safe and stay smart in this unclear time.

… and let’s not be this person.

Someone Used My Nose As a Bowling Ball…

I had my operation yesterday – a polypectomy along with a side of septoplasty. It went well, by all accounts, but after three hours under the knife and a further two in recovery I was ready for a nap.

Just before I went under I was thinking about that Simpsons episode when Homer has to get a heart bypass, and just before his eyes close he hears his surgeon, Dr. Nick say, “what the hell is that?” It was funny in the context of that show, but not sure how I’d have felt if my guy had said it too.

The surgeon came to see me after I had woken from the anaesthetic and explained that I had lost a lot of blood during the procedure, and they also discovered I had an infection as well, which slowed things down a little.

All the polyps are gone (for now, as it is possible they will come back) but my nose is currently sore to touch and still filled with blood, so I just have to be careful when I’m cleaning it. Bending is also a problem as it encourages blood flow, so I’m trying to relax for a few days.

I have an extra couple of days off work so fingers crossed I’ll be back on the wagon by Wednesday and fully recovered a couple of weeks after that.

Meeting the Nurse…

I have nasal polyps, which is what is stopping me from being able to breathe properly through my nose. It has also completely eliminated my sense of smell, and likely affected my ability to taste as well.

I went to the hospital today for what they called a pre-op assessment, which was basically the nurse asking me a whole lot of questions, and me saying no to almost all of them. I guess it’s them covering their ass while trying to protect mine.

She gave me a forest-worth of pamphlets to read before the operation and told me to make sure the underwear that I wore next week was cotton. Why? I have no idea, and I felt that it was too stupid a question to ask, so I didn’t. I don’t think I own any other kind, to be honest. Do people wear polyester pants?

I had a thumping headache and all the inane questions were not making it go away. She explained what it was I was getting done and I nodded like I knew what she was talking about. Ultimately, once they knock me out, they could tar and feather me and I won’t be able to do anything about it… but I have to trust them.

I’ve been advised that in all likelihood it will not be a permanent fix, and that I will have to get it done again at some point. It could last a year, or it may last for a decade – they just don’t know.

The only thing left to do, is to get it done.

The End of the World As We Know It…

iStock-176978345_0

I’m not a fan of REM, so this is the first and (probably) last time that I look to them for a blog post title. However…

…the coronavirus now has a title too. Covid-19. Granted, it’s not the greatest name, but we are talking about something that can potentially kill you. At least it’s not like storms, which used to be named after the wife of the meteorologist who discovered them. I’m not making that up, right?

Over 1000 people have now lost their lives to this virus – a handful of which have been in the UK – and there will unfortunately be more to come.

Although not directly related to that, it’s interesting to speculate on how the end of the world will arrive, and indeed what that term even means. Is the end of the world the extinguishing of humanity, or the bigger picture – the death of the planet itself? Is it something a little more nebulous? If you have faith, maybe it’s the rapture.

Will a meteor enter our atmosphere, plummet to the earth, and wipe us all out in much the same way that the dinosaurs met their demise sixty-five million years ago? Are machines destined to become sentient and take over the world? Will it be war, waged initially between two politicians who just can’t keep their fingers off the big red button? Or will it be a parasitic cordyceps fungus that turns us all into mindless, brain-hungry zombies?

Whatever happens, hopefully none of us will be around to see it.

Unless it’s the robot thing, of course: that would be pretty cool.

It’s Not Always About Race…

Earlier this week, Stephen King sent out the following tweet:

Diversity in entertainment – be it sexual, religious, racial, gender identity, or other – is a hot topic, and potentially a minefield of political correctness and sensitivities. It’s not really a ring I want to throw my hat into, but here goes anyway…

This King tweet wasn’t just a random admission to get a reaction. For context, King is on the judging committee for the Academy Awards, and has a voice in several categories. This is in response to there being only one nominee of colour for acting at the 2020 ceremony, to be hosted next month.

I don’t think King has anything to apologise for, but he has since walked back his tweet due to the resultant backlash he received. I thought it was fairly obvious what he was saying.

If I watch one hundred movies and pick the best ten performances from them, there’s a chance all of those actors will be white. Similarly, there’s a chance they will all be black. There’s also the chance that they will all worship the same God, or that they are all homosexual. Does it matter?

I don’t want to put words into King’s mouth, but as soon as I read his comment I knew he was talking about ability and skill, and that there was no underlying subtext about trying to keep ethnic minorities down. Frankly, I’m disappointed that he got so much heat about it.

All right, sure, the number of black actors and actresses getting (or even being offered) these roles is lower, so a great white role is quite simply easier to find. That’s not racist or discriminatory – it’s just a fact. I’m not a studio head offering actors these roles and similarly, I’m not taking them away either. I don’t think it’s fair for people operating under the rules of the game to be blamed for the sins of those running it.

In most cases, the person who gives the best audition should get the role, and there’s nothing else to be considered. I say most cases because obviously a movie about – for example – the 1936 Olympics, should not have Adolf Hitler played by a black guy any more than a white guy should be playing Jesse Owens.

But where colour is unimportant to the plot or the characters – and that is most things – the best actor should get the part.

Maybe that’s an oversimplification, and I really should be more cynical, but it’s also just common sense, right?

National Apricot Day…


Today is National Apricot Day, which is when the Americans (because who else really?) celebrate their collective love for the apricot, one of the most overlooked of fruits.

Full disclosure here – I have never eaten an apricot. I’ve had apricot purée, and the odd piece of dried apricot, but I’ve never consumed an entire fruit. And I’m sure I’m not alone.


Because let’s not pretend here – the apricot is probably a third or fourth tier fruit at best.

At the top of the tree you have the apple, the banana, and probably the orange. Just below that comes the pear, the grape, and the strawberry. Maybe you could throw raspberries in there too.

But after that you get into things like tangerines, plums, peaches, nectarines and melons… amongst others. Somewhere below that you’ll find the apricot, treading water with the kiwi fruit and the pineapple, and the reason it’s a bargain basement fruit is that nobody eats them. People will jump in the car just to pick up half a dozen Golden Delicious, but nobody is taking a trip to their local greengrocer because they forgot to put apricots on the weekly shopping list.
So, eat up, and enjoy!