COVID-19 Pandemic Meets the Obesity Epidemic

Just look at this article. COVID-19 Warning for overweight people. They sure do know how to scare us. So let’s look at their math.

Overweight and obese people made up 64% of the people with COVID-19 in the ICU in the UK. This sounds like a grim and scary statistic. Indeed the article gets even more damning as it lists a whole host of possible reasons why this illness could be worse for the overweight and obese.

Indeed, this science spread across the pond as known jump-on-the-bandwagon Dr. Oz scared his audience with it. He tried to help, pointing out simple exercises his viewers could do while watching television. Like squats and jumping jacks. He looked so earnest. Like he had really looked at this situation.

Do you know what the statistic for being overweight or obese is in the UK? 62 %! Why that could easily be in the error bars of this COVID-19 study!

It gets worse. 2014 is the last year that I could find stats for being overweight and obese in the UK. This article I linked to gives them as well as the increase in percentage since 1980. It’s possible they have increased further. That’s the track they were on. So the 2020 overweight and obese percentage might be exactly 64%.

This study shouldn’t have been circulated nearly as widely as it has been. Definitely not with the fear mongering messages that it has been associated with.

At this point I would like to ask: What if being overweight or obese has a protective effect on serious cases of COVID-19? To me, that is just as likely a scenario. Do your homework when reporting on such studies. Otherwise you are just a click-baiter or a viewer-baiter.

Just for the record, the pandemic met the obesity epidemic and nothing happened.

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The Big Smoke

“Sit down, Near Absolute Hero, I have something to say to you and this might take a while,” said the lead fire commissioner of the Big Smoke.

As Near Absolute Hero sat, the commissioner went on. “Many countries have their Big Smoke. In Canada it is Toronto. In Ireland it is Dublin. In England it is London. This leads to ribbing by the rest of the country that the Big Smoke’s fire crews are so bad that the city is called the Big Smoke.

“Now for the last month or so, our fire crews have taken no ribbing at all. The rest of the country has been jealous as you, Near Absolute Hero, have brought skills to our efforts that no one on Earth has. We would like to formalize our relationship.”

The fire commissioner reached into a desk drawer and brought out a page that was filled with writing. “This is a contract for you. We will offer you twice as much money as I make to be part of our firefighting family.”

Near Absolute Hero balked at the idea for a moment. “I would only be able to help you as much as I am helping now.”

“That’s more than fine with us.”

Near Absolute Hero scanned a few of the lines then lifted his head again. “If there were a bigger fire in a neighbouring city I would have to attend that event instead of a little fire in the Big Smoke.”

“Give me back that contract.”

Near Absolute Hero complied and the fire commissioner ripped it up and sighed. He reached into his desk again and brought out a new contract. “This contract allows that and only pays you the salary that I make.”

“I’d be pleased with such an agreement,” said Near Absolute Hero. “I’ll look it over but if it is what you say I will be glad to join your team. There’s just one thing. I will sign it Near Absolute Hero. There is no way I’m going to let you find out my secret identity.”

The fire commissioner sighed again. “It would have been nice to know but I was expecting your position. Let’s shake on it.”

The pair did. The fire commissioner said, “Toronto can now say they are called the Big Smoke because of all the legal pot.”

“I thought the slogan: You can do cannabis in Canada, was enticing enough.”

“The cannabis industry seems to use everything it can.”

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Capturing the Flame Tosser

“There aren’t enough cameras in this area in case the Flame Tosser gives you the slip,” said the image of Mother Earth on Near Absolute Hero‘s smart phone.

“Well get the spy satellite that you used to follow Varmint with.”

“Sure,” said Mother Earth and she disappeared for a moment.

When that moment was over she came back looking crestfallen and angry. “The damn Pentagon! They switched around everything. They must have known I was in the system a couple months ago using the spy telescope with Tail. It might take me hours to find the way the satellite is routed.”

“Near Absolute Hero, you’re on your own. Summon me if need be.” With that, Mother Earth was gone.

Near Absolute Hero walked up past the tree to the Flame Tosser’s townhome door and rang the bell. He put his thumb on the peephole so the serial arsonist would have to reveal himself to see who it was.

Eventually Near Absolute Hero heard footsteps and then a muttered curse before the door opened.

Hero and villain revealed themselves to each other. Near Absolute Hero said in a firm voice, “I need to ask you about some fires.”

Flame Tosser whirled and had his sparker ready.

Near Absolute Hero for a split second thought the villain was going to flee but remembered just in time to shoot his cold gun just as fire came out the villain’s butt. The fire went out as the temperature dropped drastically. The smell was atrocious.

Flame Tosser jumped away. “Whoo, that’s cold!” He continued running away through the townhome he was in.

Near Absolute Hero could hear the telltale sound of flames and jumped back a few feet. The tree which had been a few feet behind him had caught fire. Near Absolute Hero’s cold gun produced more heat out its back than cold out its front in obeying the laws of thermodynamics. He stepped back more feet and turned his cold gun on the fire. There was only open air behind him so it wouldn’t matter if he heated that up. The fire was out in seconds.

Flame Tosser had a good head start but Near Absolute Hero still had his wings. He flew over the townhome. On the other side was a well used trail going left and right. He went left because that seemed to be the most used end.

He flew as fast as he could and spotted Flame Tosser on the top stair going down into a subway station. Nervously Flame Tosser looked back to see his nemesis and sparked a sparker.

Near Absolute Hero used his cold gun to stop this flame, too. Flame Tosser went, “Whoo,” but it might as well have been a “Woohoo!” because Near Absolute Hero couldn’t use his power of cold down where the villain led and he’d probably need it in order to catch Flame Tosser. He was just left with the foul smell. He summoned Mother Earth and told her what he had found.

Mother Earth said, “All those subway entrances and exits have cameras. We’ll be able to track him.”

“But he’s too dangerous to alert the cops.”

“They have to deal with many things. I think a lone arsonist can be gotten.”

“Still it’s so frustrating,” muttered Near Absolute Hero.

“Do you know why he ran?”

“Because he’s guilty as hell!”

“Because as long as you were near, he was an absolute hero!” Mother Earth instantly guffawed and rolled around on the ground.

All Near Absolute Hero could get out was, “Jokes?!”

“Half of it is seeing your face,” said Mother Earth and she guffawed some more.

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Can’t Believe the Cannabis Edibles Ad Hasn’t Been Pulled Yet

Cannabis edibles have just become available in Canada. The government doesn’t think we understand the risks, yet. To help with this, the government has put out a cannabis edibles public service announcement ad.

The ad says in exactly the following order:

“Cannabis edibles aren’t as innocent as they look. Their high is unpredictable. And delayed. Help your kids understand the risks.”

So I told my kids Mopsy, Flopsy and Moxie, “The high of cannabis edibles is unpredictable. And delayed.”

Flopsy was the first to utter, “Oh, maaaannnn! What if I took them before my first period class, Ms. Megan’s grade 6 current events? You mean I wouldn’t be high for the class that I intended to be?”

“Yeah,” said Mopsy, his twin. “His favourite class is 2nd period. That would take him from being teacher’s pet to teacher’s whipping boy. And I’d be so embarrassed if the high lasted to 3rd period and my favourite class. Guess we’ll just have to suck it up and smoke some doobies like before.”

Moxie asked, “Does this mean that I won’t know if I’ll have the inescapable munchies because the high is unpredictable? What if I only have money for munchies or edibles but not both. Do you want me panhandling on the street?”

“Moxie,” I said, “you make a good point. If you only have edibles, the high might make you eat more edibles in an effort to quench the munchies but that will only make you more hungry. I will keep a munchies cupboard stocked for you three all in the interest of safety.

“I’m glad we had this talk, kids. The government was smart to try to spark conversations. A worthy ad buy as any I’ve ever seen.”

The preceding looks exactly like the conversation the government is expecting us to have. Did you notice how careful I was to use their wording? Now some may say this ad should be pulled. But it’s lasted this long so what do they know? It’s not like we’ve been severely distracted by something more important. Oh wait…

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Back From the Fire

Mother Earth‘s image appeared on Near Absolute Hero‘s phone. To get his attention she tripped the Emergency Alert feature on it.

Reluctantly Near Absolute Hero answered it. “What do you want? I just got back and I am eating. I burned a lot of calories tonight.”

“I just want to congratulate you on a job well done. Saving that man and his cat from the eighth floor was impressive. Remember to thank me for your wings. And cooling key points in the fire really helped the firemen. Kudos.”

“Did someone film me?” Near Absolute Hero asked between bites of his food.

“I imagine someone managed to film parts. But really I got my info from the radios the fire department uses. Again, Kudos.”

Near Absolute Hero took a long swig of his iced tea. “Well you had it pegged from the start. I’m a natural superhero for fighting fires.” He returned to gulping his food down quickly.

“Well, you invented the cold gun. It’s not so good at getting criminals because you’d kill them if you froze their chest. But it works wonders on putting out hot spots and protecting things like propane tanks from explosions. The experimental winged exoskeleton I provided does save lives, too.”

Near Absolute Hero managed to take his last bites of food on his plate after Mother Earth was done speaking. He asked, “Do you want something in particular?”

Tail said you had some questions for me.”

“Can’t that wait till tomorrow when I’m all rested up?”

“Tail wouldn’t tell me exactly what it was. I’m dying of curiosity.”

Near Absolute Hero sighed. “Fine. I was talking to the captain after it was all over and he said we can tell what room the fire started in and that it seemed to be ignited a meter up the wall. He wasn’t sure but believed it was a methane ignition source. That fits in with the new arsonist that has started 5 different fires in the last month.”

“What does that have to do with me or even Tail?”

“The rest of Mother Earth Force has long discussed the man you unequivocally denied a spot on our team. Apparently you had him try out separately from the rest of us. A certain would be hero known as Flame Tosser.”

“Of course,” said Mother Earth. “I just looked it up. Methane is what burns in farts. Ha, ha. Did I tell you that he wouldn’t wear a cape! It would be in the way of his flames.”

“It’s not so funny anymore.”

“I’m just saving the Force from the horrible, horrible smell.”

“You can just see and hear so how would you know? And I bet you know exactly where he lives and can look up where he might have been when all 5 fires were set.”

“Good detective work, Near Absolute Hero. Do you want to go get him right now? Your power should be able to put out his flames.”

“I need sleep. I’ll get him tomorrow.”

“I’ll gather evidence till you’re ready, tomorrow.”

“Thank you.”

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The Apocalypse is Boring

With theaters shuttered, almost all TV productions now halted, most sports on hold, libraries closed and you can’t go out to a restaurant or nightclub or live show, it is patently obvious that if COVID-19 is the apocalypse then it is boring.

Thankfully we can still go online and most news shows are going. Still the era of nonstop entertainment has definitely flown the coop. Some are resorting to board games and learning as a form of entertainment.

But I guess we should have known that the apocalypse would be boring. Notice how the whole genre of post apocalyptic story telling can basically describe their various apocalypses in about a sentence or long phrase.

There was a nuclear war… The machines rose up… The dead began to rise… or The virus reached pandemic proportions…

All of these manage to avoid the very boring apocalypse itself. The interesting stuff comes later and that’s what makes a post apocalyptic story good.

So excuse me while I wait for reality to change drastically and become much more interesting. It is now my belief that society changes for the worse because we so miss high stakes fiction and the rivalry of sports that we start to put that stuff into reality.

So expect society to totally shift. There should be various factions and from what we know about post apocalyptic societies in fiction is that it will undoubtedly involve cannibalism from one of the factions. And there always seem to be lots of bullets left over even though the factions use them like crazy and the factories that make them are probably long destroyed or at best closed.

Anyhow, I am getting ahead of myself. I only know for sure that the apocalypse is boring. But hopefully not this blog which attempts to make something interesting about a topic that is literally boring.

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Superhero Practice

It was a busy warehouse that morning as the whole Mother Earth Force was there. Modern Ninja and Near Absolute Hero were sparring – Modern Ninja without using her invisibility and Near Absolute Hero without using his cold gun. Mother Earth was explaining to Tail and Flying Squirrel that Tail needed to learn how to break in and hot-wire a car. Flying Squirrel knew all about that kind of thing and could show Tail.

“But what’s in it for me? You say I’m still not part of your team. Perhaps I shouldn’t show Tail so you’ll need me in the future.”

“We are willing to make you an alternate. You could be a sometimes member of the Mother Earth Force. Besides, don’t you want to see Tail fend for himself? If he had been able to do this before, his getaway from Varmint might have been easy and he never would have been taken by the suspicious government.”

“An alternate? What good is that? I want in on the glory.”

“As an alternate you will get your own Top Secret powered exoskeleton. That’s the gift that I gave the other three. And that is largely the reason they spar so well. You will also get access to this warehouse to train.”

Flying Squirrel (who got his name from his wing suit) looked over to the sparring between Modern Ninja and Near Absolute Hero. It was impressive. With their exoskeletons they were able to fight better than ordinary humans. “I’ll do it.”

Modern Ninja and Near Absolute Hero were relaxing for a few moments so Mother Earth appeared on the computer nearest the pair and listened.

“I just think your name is so awkward,” Modern Ninja said.

“Well right now, you’re the absolute hero and I’m near you,” said Near Absolute Hero.

“Oh, so you’re a charmer,” stated Modern Ninja.

“No flirting, you two,” Spoke up Mother Earth.

The pair looked askance at the screen.

“First it’s flirting and before you know it, Modern Ninja is pregnant. Then we’ll have to go with the alternate of Flying Squirrel. Do you want that? Does anybody want that?”

There was silence in the warehouse for a moment. Then Flying Squirrel said, “Hey!”

Still, no one came to his defence.

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The Return of Tail

Modern Ninja jumped about the one room warehouse, drop kicking a punching bag, leaping a pile of equipment then doing a roundhouse on a full body punching bag.

Unfortunately she had used too much force with her roundhouse amped up by her powerful exoskeleton, that she split open the punching bag. That still happened much too frequently. She mustn’t use full power all the time as she seriously would kill too many opponents. She had promised Mother Earth that she wouldn’t. Indeed, she had agreed that one of her ‘modern’ features, which was her using silenced guns, would only be with rubber bullets. Apparently modern ninjas were less lethal than their traditional counterparts.

She had just thrown the ruined punching bag on the pile of equipment when a buzzer sounded from the main door.

She thought about it for a second. Maybe it was a supervillain and although she might not be ready to incapacitate them, she could still kill most potential enemies.

She saw someone in full costume, complete with a cape. “I’m here to see Mother Earth,” said the strange man. Modern Ninja read his chest. That said ‘Tail’.

“The superhero tryouts were last month,” she said looking out through the reinforced glass of the door.

“Are you saying that she never mentioned me?”

“She mentioned a partner she used to have. But she also said she really needed more than one partner. She had been shown that.”

“We lost touch but I’m back with something to say to her. Please. I believe you can signal her. I used to be able to.”

Modern Ninja mulled that over for a minute. Then she hailed Mother Earth.

It took a full minute for a grumpy looking Mother Earth to answer. “To what do I owe the pleasure of being woken up?”

“Do you know this man?” Modern Ninja asked pointing her phone up to the other superhero.

“TAIL! I was beginning to think that I would never see you again. It’s been almost two months. Where were you all this time?”

“I tried to come back but our own government agents got me first.”

“Oh my god! Did they hurt you?”

“No that would be blue collar torture. Like being water boarded or having your nails ripped out. They used white collar torture on me. Like putting me in a cell with bright lights all the time. Then waking me up at odd times and using psychological tricks. It takes longer but it is just as effective as blue collar torture.”

“You don’t have PTSD?”

“No. I think I’m alright but I let them know all I knew about you. Which isn’t much.”

“I’m not worried.”

“I think I ended up knowing more about you. The government thinks you are the maker of the world’s biggest and best quantum computer. They say that this and this alone is how you manage to break into computer systems in less than a second. No ordinary hacker could match that.”

“So my superpower is out. You could at least have waited till we were alone to out me, Tail.”

“I’ll keep the secret,” said Modern Ninja.

Tail said, “You seem to trust her as much as you trusted me in the past. I didn’t think it would be a problem.”

“Well at least keep it hidden from Near Absolute Hero.”

“Are all four of us going to become a team?” asked Tail.

“Just when one of us gets stuck,” said Mother Earth. “I dub us Mother Earth Force.”

“You’re taking top billing?”

“Of course. I’m the one being hunted by the biggest powers on Earth.”

Modern Ninja asked, “Isn’t mother earth force just gravity.”

“Exactly,” said Mother Earth. “When we’re forced together it should be a mission of gravity.”

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Rush Limbaugh Again

I promised to publish this political cartoon of Rush Limbaugh if he ever said something that was so stupid and vile that it made it to my ears up here in Canada to a person that doesn’t seek out right wing slants.

He called the novel coronavirus a plot and that it’s just the common cold. So wrong and so vile just like the last time, Rush.

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Jokes of Billionaires

Let’s start locally with this one. Mike Lazaridis of Blackberry fame is still a billionaire. He started and named the Perimeter Institute which is the premiere physics institute in Canada. He used the name Perimeter because he expected that the science to be done there would be on the edge of known science. It’s acronym is PI which brings fond memories of the first constant we were likely to know. To me this sounds like a Dad joke but it is a joke nevertheless.

Mike Bloomberg is at a very high risk of being the joke Democratic candidate. Even if he pulls himself up by the bootstraps, he has already made a joke out of most of the rules that candidates have to live by. It’s surprising how much a few millions can actually buy in politics.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame made the same joke politicians have been making for the last few decades. Instead of delivering quality jobs, he had virtually every large metropolitan area vying to be the second Amazon headquarters with about 50 000 new jobs on tap. This would be wonderful if Amazon was known for creating only good jobs. But they are not. Some jobs might indeed pay well but I heard the majority of the jobs would be poor paying.

The quantity of the jobs appealed to the politicians of almost every large city in North America. After all they’ve been promoting jobs, jobs, jobs for decades even if they end up being temporary or part time. Politicians know the quantity not quality joke, too.

Elon Musk’s recent joke is calling the spaceship part of his rocket/spaceship, Starship. Even with some improvements in longevity, we won’t be alive to see Starship reach the closest star. Indeed all the plans for Starship currently involve the Sun and its environs – not other stars. His name overreaches quite a lot.

To my mind the funniest joke of any billionaire is the one that Bill Gates made when he said he was now going to give most of his wealth to charity. Ha! Why does Bill Gates’ wealth continue to grow then? Granted he’s let other billionaires surpass his wealth but he aims to be super rich for the rest of his lifetime and I’ll bet that his kids will inherit billions of dollars if he ever dies. Not the 10 million dollars he alluded to leaving them some years ago.

But the biggest joke of a billionaire is, no surprise, Donald Trump. That is of course if he even is a billionaire.

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