CORONAGRUMP

7th September 2020

American isolationism,  Chinese colonialism, Russian  interventionism, European fragmentationism, Indian 

confrontationalism and global pandemic...ism; the world is in a mess and its leaders are for the most part not fit for purpose or to govern. Collectively they seem more interested in armed conflict than in working together to solve the extinction-threatening problems we face, such as nuclear oblivion, climate change, migration, food and water security, worldwide crime and corruption, eradication of of all animal and aquatic life with whom we share the planet,  religious intolerance and unconstrained IT/AI development.

Issue 12
When the chips are down, there's only one thing to do - call in 007. Exactly which one we'll leave to 'M'. Sean was 90 the other day, so he's not up for it and Daniel's handed in his notice. Others have either died or packed it in...
...so there's really only one person
to turn to...

MAJOR RANT

I am most grateful to everyone from all over the world who, on a daily basis, send me huge numbers of cartoons, jokes and funny stories, many of which end up being shared here in the Coronagrump.
Lately, however, there have been increasing numbers of rants and painful commentaries on the state of affairs in so many countries. Leaders around the world should be reminded of this simple truth
The rant below seemed particularly heartfelt, and it could be from almost any of the so-called advanced, democratised nations. I present a précis of it below for your consideration.
"I don’t give a rats ass who this offends, but I stand by it. War is coming, sooner or later! You the Government!! You are all a bunch of cowards! You raised the cost of living so high that both parents are always at work, rather than spending time with their children (single parents stand no chance). You took God out of schools. Parents were told 'No you can't discipline your kids'. Well, now most of those kids are rude and out of control ... You deem people with terminal illnesses and some with only a few months to live…fit for work!!! You allow our veterans of war to go homeless and hungry ... You save drug addicts ... but refuse to give free ... supplies to those who need them to stay alive. You bend over backwards to be politically correct, too scared to say enough is enough, in case you offend someone. You put the retirement age up so people must work until they drop. You take care of prisoners and give them everything under the sun ... yet you cause the elderly, those that have paid their (dues) to society and their families, to go broke caring for them either at home or in a nursing home ... (people are losing their homes, their savings, their jobs, all over again) THINGS NEED TO CHANGE!"
It's true, things do need to change. The current state of affairs with world leaders doing and saying whatever they want cannot be tolerated. But what to do? Voting them out of office has been the traditional method in established, mature democracies, but this system is coming under increasing pressure; forget Belarus, just look at the US. In other less 'advanced' nations, coups and/or assassinations are the preferred and tested method...what lies in store in the coming months I think is really quite terrifying. 
Whether it's putting something nasty in an enemy's tea, or creating vaccines (and I use the word with caution) to test out the reaction on a friend,
there must inevitably be consequences...
...which is why you never test new ideas on yourself!
Now working for peace accords between traditional foes is all very well, but one should understand the reasons behind it. If it is simply to get a Nobel Peace prize, because the previous incumbent  received one, then that is not noble. Similarly, if it is to boost the sales of advanced warplanes with one of the parties, without telling the other about it, then that is rather contradictory and lacking in any sort of morality, but why should we be surprised? Oh, sorry Benjamin, didn't he tell you? I say, bad luck!

FAMILY DYNASTIES & THE CONVENTIONS

Now I'm no political scientist, but if you have 12 'key speakers' at your convention and 6 of them are family members, then it might seem that your party has been receiving guidance and advice from North Korea.
Yet despite this and the various other  discrepancies in protocol surrounding the GOP Convention, the 
extraordinary divisiveness being apparently encouraged across the United States and, at least by comparison, a rational and cogent presentation by the Democrats, Trump continues to enjoy a high level of support by Americans. 
However, be warned! When bemoaning the state of affairs and extolling the virtues of Biden, one reader cautioned me, "Be careful what you wish for." But really, how could it be worse?
PROTECTION FROM THE DREADED VIRUS
Rules governing social distancing and lockdowns are generally being more relaxed around the world now, although these are often being reinstated when irresponsible behaviour leads to a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.  Masks, though, and perhaps gloves and disinfectant, look like they are here to stay, and will be discarded at your peril, regardless of the inconvenience.
Wearing a mask, however, will definitely prove to have had drawbacks in the future...
Personally, I find things are not always clear, whether it relates to social distancing guidelines...
...the wearing of masks...
...or understanding the logic behind certain aspects of hygiene guidelines and sanitation.
...and one could certainly be forgiven for not realising that these items being provided by a certain bank, are given to protect your fingers when using their in-house ATM machines.
Well, I'm told that every cloud has a silver lining, and who am I to argue?
I'm also told, though, that you can only come out of lockdown in one of four ways. You'll come out a monk, a hunk, a chunk or a drunk - so choose wisely.
 
And talking of every lining having a silver cloud, the virus must have hit India hard, for this is the longest spell I can recall when I have not been inundated with phone calls to offer me assistance in suing guilty parties for causing an accident I haven't been in! It also probably represents the longest amount of time that something "MADE IN CHINA" has lasted without breaking! More's the pity.
On the subject of China, we have news that the authorities there have just released the names of the first two people to have contracted the Corona virus, Sum Ting Wong and Ho Lee Fuk.
(yes, OK, you can groan now!)

BACK TO SCHOOL

There is certainly much debate as to the wisdom of sending children and students back to school, colleges and universities.
 
On the one hand, there is the risk of accelerating the spread of the virus. While this is perhaps less of a general concern for the health of the young, the contagion spreading to teachers, parents and the older population is of course more of an issue.
 
On the other hand, keeping young minds away from a learning environment is going to have a major impact for the future, with a generation reaching maturity in body but in not in mind.

How well equipped the next generation will be to handle the challenges of tomorrow remains to be seen, because on-line teaching and field work will only take them so far.

It is also a matter of fact that many parents are unable to teach their children all that is required.  A recent study found that parents were generally able to teach 1/3 of their kids' maths, but struggled with the remaining 3/4.
Written English scored equally poorly. Listed below are some examples of really bad analogies written by a group of High School students.

1. Her eyes were like two brown circles with black dots in the middle.

2. He was as tall as a 6'3" tree.

3. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

4. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

 5. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

6. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room temperature beef.

7. The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.

and so on...

 

But for those children that have returned, it's back to good old exams and report cards...

FAMILY, FRIENDS &  ACQUAINTANCES
All over the world, the younger generation have begun challenging their parents regarding previously held social norms of dress and behaviour. For example:
   Son : "Why if we are we living in Bradford  are we still wearing all this stuff?"
People who've retired understand what so many younger people have been experiencing these last months. The word 'furlough' has become a part of everyone's vocabulary, often all too closely linked to 'redundant'. Times have been appalling for so many as they contemplate a future without work and no income to cover the bills.
As for older people trying to get a job, this has become almost impossible, but maybe here's a clue why.
In case anybody wants it, some good advice for those finding themselves unexpectedly at home is not to try and change any established routines, at least not to start with.
It's really just much better to sit back and observe...
As for acquaintances, be careful about who and how you judge them.
Remember always to treasure your friendships; they will be with you forever.
ANIMAL NEWS
Some of our friends in the animal kingdom have been having a tough time too. 
But some creatures are resourceful and get their fun where they can.
When it comes to information, finding the best news source can often be a challenge
Sometimes, though, our relationship with animals can also be a challenge!
SOME GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
We went to a restaurant the other day; first meal out in six months, and very pleasant it was too. Some people, however, have been finding that service staff have changed a bit.

I still haven't started attending any special events yet, like weddings, and certainly no plans to travel for the time being. I can't wait to walk down the aisle someday soon and hear those magic words...

 

"THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING" 

 

The trouble is, even NOT travelling can have consequences. I told my suitcases that there would be no vacation this year, and now I'm dealing with emotional baggage!

THE YEAR SO FAR & A LOOK TO THE FUTURE
it would probably look something like this.
* * *
You may well have seen these doing the rounds...
...and we can't be that sure about December. Really, it's been such a terrible year, I can't help asking myself what else could possibly go wrong.
Okay, so things could get worse!
 
People are increasingly turning to 
horoscopes to seek comfort and guidance for the future...
...but even the professionals hit snags!
When a connection is made to 'the other side' and a glimpse of the future allowed, will it it be something like this that is seen?
Let me leave you now with one last thought. People who wonder whether their glass is half empty or half full are missing the point. The glass is always refillable!
Charles
Please join me in a toast to the best Bond of them all. "Happy Birthday" Sir Sean, and to you all, 
  
Yours Aye!