28th September 2020
CORONAGRUMP
Issue 13
JOINT COLLABORATION BETWEEN SCIENTISTS AND ANALYSTS REVEAL CAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS 
As the Earth breathes a collective sigh of relief, the cause of all the misery created, ostensibly by the virus known as Corona, is revealed. It turns out not to have been a normal virus in the conventional sense, but rather a collection of awful and deadly microbes. Rarely have so many such microbes been identified at any one time, and it is this herd effect that the scientific community now believe is the cause of the crisis. So far, scientists have been able to identify 7 of the malignant and terrifying microbes, shown here.
A cure is now being urgently sought, but it is considered likely that the only solution will come in the form of a SUPER microbe that is capable of eliminating the others - we wait with bated breath.
MAJOR RANT - 
THE ADAM & EVE TIPPING POINT
Have the nations of Earth and mankind in general become so self-obsessed, greedy and selfish that they really do not consider the consequences of their actions, or if they do, care so little? Must everything  play second fiddle to big business and the preservation of power by the ‘haves’ to the detriment of the ‘have nots’? “I win, so you lose,” is their mantra, whether the subject is climate change, the environment, pollution, overpopulation, racism, corruption, religious intolerance, social media disfunction, the obliteration of wildlife and the rampant mass destruction of the oceans’ inhabitants, the disregard for mass migration from poverty, human trafficking, conflict, oppression and chaos…the list seems endless. 
  
Is it really so unreasonable to expect that somewhere there is a person, or people, with the learning, skills, aptitude, willingness and vigour to come forth and lead the world out of this calamitous situation?
Great leaders have come before but where are their successors when we need them so badly and from where will they emerge? I wonder, given the inexorable march of time, will it be too late?
Barak Obama observed, "We're the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it." Will the history of Earth show that, in the end, we actually did not have the capacity to survive the problems and challenges we created?
At our worst, we are a horrible, dysfunctional species, wholly undeserving of such a wonderful planet. Yet at our best we can achieve so much, but we are running out of time.
  
Everyone agrees that the coronavirus is terrible. Whether it was a natural occurrence in nature or man-made in a
laboratory, it doesn’t alter the fact that the effect it has had on the world has been enormous. It seems to me, though, that we’ve been quite lucky, if you consider how much worse a viral pandemic could be. An updated version of the
Spanish Flu, for example, or an evolved combination of Ebola with smallpox; such a scenario would be truly catastrophic, comparable in its effect to a nuclear holocaust.
  
However, whilst I can comprehend such doomsday

scenarios, what I cannot accept and find really devastating, is the collective failure of our elected (in most cases) leadership to come together and work the problem through. The leaders of the larger economies, nations and organisations have failed spectacularly and continue to vacillate over the management of the crisis and other calamitous, self-developed opportunities (1).

 

I have always believed that the principal of ‘mutually assured destruction’ has been the common sense reason that a global conflict involving WMD has been

avoided. But observing the world’s leaders today and the appalling way in which they are conducting themselves, I am now truly frightened (2). It is as if they are engaged in a game of ‘chicken’ with nature and the well-being of the planet.

It is ironic that one of the largest companies on Earth is symbolised by the forbidden fruit,      , but our apple is almost eaten and we are on the point of eviction from our garden of Eden. Mankind’s only hope to remain as custodians of our planet is for the emergence of some truly inspirational leadership with the capability, resource and backing to forge rapid and extraordinary change. Otherwise, we are doomed, extinction will be inevitable and the human race as we know will cease to exist.

1. Examples include:

  • Modi’s purges on Muslims, both in India and in Kashmir, with open hostility towards Pakistan and China.

  • Xi Jinping’s territorial advances on the South China Sea.

  • Putin’s predatory interference in ex-Soviet satellite countries.

    

2. Examples include:

  • Trump’s recent order to develop a new generation of ICBMs.

  • Various leaders’ blatant disregard for climate change, environmental protection and mass migration (Bolsonaro and the logging industry in the Amazon / Trump and fossil fuel industry in many locations / Turnbull the Morrison and the shipping & coal industry in the Great Barrier Reef / Abe and the whaling & fishing industry, etc.

In the meantime...
GENERAL POLITICS 
A good and famous man once observed that our world is not divided by race, colour, gender or religion. Instead, he suggested that our world is divided into wise people and fools, and it is they who divide themselves by race, colour, gender and religion.                                  
                                                                           - Nelson Mandela -
How right he was and how true today.
  
People everywhere are demanding there so-called rights, freedoms of expression, the ability to say and do whatever they wish, regardless of the consequences or the effect on others.  
Whether it's choosing not to wear a facemark in public, write hateful things on social media or publish inflammatory, hurtful, irreligious pictures, the truth is that we live in a society and must must abide by certain rules and norms. Otherwise, unfettered and uncontrolled behaviour leads to anarchy and eventually complete social breakdown...this has perhaps never been truer than in the United States over recent months. The manner in which the nation has deteriorated is astonishing and is leaving the rest of the world baffled.
Of course, it all boils down to leadership, or a lack thereof.
Shock, horror, is he who must be obeyed now telling us to wear face masks? That's not what our Governor said...Having some places making the wearing of masks in public compulsory, while others do not have to, is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool!

Of course, the Supreme Leader has been busy choosing a suitable candidate to fill the vacant Supreme Court justice position. Here we see him receiving a message from the outgoing Judge before meeting some potential replacement candidates.

There's so much hatred around in the US today. Trump's tirades against Biden are preposterous, even  in the run-up to an election. But the reason behind the vitriol targeted towards his real nemesis, Obama, seems obvious...
In any event, the constant boasting of his supreme management of the pandemic is mind-boggling. Does he really believe what he says or is it all some terrible game being played out on the USA and the world at large?
  
And talking of Presidential games, let us raise a glass to a very special birthday girl, who has just reached another important milestone in her life. Many happy returns of the day, Monica.
It is not just the United States that is having its share of atrocious leadership. If we head back across the pond, we can also see the ineptitude with which Boris Johnson has been handling the pandemic. His approach to social distancing, lockdowns, mask wearing and the pandemic in general is abominable. His latest directive is to make pubs, bars and hotel lounges close early...hmmm!
...and further to the recent school examinations debacle, the Government have been telling people unable to take a Covid test that they will be allowed to use their predicted results.
Apparently, it has even been suggested that very soon, EVERYBODY will be tested for Covid-19. With little faith in the logistics of such a proposition, people are being advised instead to send a stool sample to the following address:
The Covid Testing Centre
10 Downing Street 
London SW1A 2AA
Messages are confusing and often contradictory,. People are increasingly scared of being fined for congregating in the wrong places and in the wrong numbers, as if catching a deadly disease and dying a horrible death wasn't enough. The police have also met with difficulties when trying to enforce new rules.
In fact, things have become really bad in the UK, as illustrated in this report recently filed by Customs and Excise.
   
'Twelve boats were intercepted yesterday trying to cross the Channel. Border agents confirmed they were people from Bolton trying to get to their nearest Covid-19 test centre in Cherbourg.'
Even children are catching on to what is rapidly becoming described as the British Malaise.
Maybe we shouldn't let them back to school yet!
NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF MEDICINE

We'll begin with some words of caution. Although everyone is encouraged throughout their life always to give 100%, whatever you do, this does not of course apply when you're donating blood.

There can be no question about the heroic contribution made by the medical fraternity over the last 9 months of the pandemic. They have been selfless, often working long hours without regard for their wellbeing. We asked one doctor how he was coping.
  
"I hate that feeling after a long surgery," he replied, "when you're not sure if you're awake or asleep...or if you even operated on the right patient."
  
On the subject of personal protection, mask wearing and so forth, he replied with the clearest of  illustrations.
"Patients are constantly asking about cures and vaccines," he told us. "At the moment, I think the Russians are way ahead in their research."
"But ultimately," he continued, "it'll have to come down to testing."
In answer to our question about advice for coping, the doctor introduced us to one of his oldest patients, an old lady of 105. She had this to say.
He did wish to make clear, however, that sticking your tongue in an outdoor insect 'zapper' lamp, as some mountain people followers of Donald Trump are advocating, is NOT a cure for the virus. 
  
He then said he had to run as he was attending a protest march.
Before parting, we asked one last question about the ideal diet to stave off Covid 19.
  
"Try and keep to a gluten free, fat free, dairy free diet," he advised. "You'll find that Champagne does the business. Cheers."
As we were leaving, we overheard another doctor talking to a patient, and we were left with something rather gloomy to consider.
FAMILIES, THE ELDERLY AND GENERALLY CARING
The most important thing in family relationships is to have a sense of humour...
...but sometimes, we don't always see things the same way.
As always in any crisis, we can always rely upon the older generation to help out with practical contributions.
At the opposite end of the age divide, it seems I still have a lot to learn about grandfather-hood.  It turns out that when asked who your favourite grandchild is, you're supposed to pick one of your own. Another lesson learnt the hard way. 
  
Anyway, good boys should always say their prayers, but this little perisher said it out loud in front of his grandmother! 
You may know a friend of mine, who also had parenting issues and is a fellow 'grumpy old man'. He sent me this photograph with an astute observation.
Just because you're grumpy, though, doesn't mean you shouldn't care, however much you may be tempted.
But here are some ladies with the right idea...
In conclusion, allow me to offer some domestic survival advice. Never laugh at the choices your spouse makes - remember, you're one of them! What's more, she will always have the last word, so just accept it.

ANIMAL NEWS

There's been some debate as to whether or not animals can the coronavirus, and if they can, how does it effect the, can they pass it on to humans, and so forth. here's a possible clue...
Like everything else, though, a good diet seems to be important...
...whatever the animal.
One should never under-estimate animals, and recognise that they too have their own self respect. They are just as busy as we are handling the Covid-19 crisis in their own way.
Before we leave the animals, here's a puzzle for you
THE ENVIRONMENT
A potential view of the Earth from space...
...and a real one today from above the clouds...
...and on the ground!
This is the Amazon, but it could be the West Coast of America or Siberia, Australia or Europe. Accelerated by climate change, greed, forestry mis-management, the result is becoming apocalyptic.
There is a certain irony about our wanton destruction of such huge tracts of forest for wood and  agricultural. We must be the only creatures in the universe that will cut down a tree, turn it into paper, then write "SAVE THE TREES" on it!
   
Our planetary management is a farce; I'm thinking here of 'walls' and fences, among other things.
And now that I'm on a rant again, just consider our abuse of the oceans. I will not distress you once more with all the gory pictures of dolphins, whales and sharks being slaughtered, and the billions of tons of waste with which  we pollute the seas. Instead, let us consider things in a different way.
Both headed for extinction, most likely within our lifetimes.
The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it, so please get engaged with organisations like Avaaz ( https://www.avaaz.org ) and Change ( https://www.change.org ) - we all need to engage and look to preserve and cherish the good things we have before it all vanishes irretrievably.
Mothers and toddlers
& the last little girl left!   
Before we all burst into tears, take some comfort from knowing that  there's wisdom in nature...
IN CONCLUSION
One of the  consequences of the pandemic has been the devastating effect on  jobs. This has given rise to an uptake in entrepreneurialism, with some people coming up with truly outstanding ideas, such as this shark walker... 
Many people have been sharpening their skills, hoping to give themselves a competitive edge at interviews...
...and more traditional professions have been seeking ways to circumvent historical legal restrictions.

Even the World Bank has risen to the occasion. In recognition of the fact that toilet paper is now being used as a currency, they have mandated that henceforth toilet paper will be known as "SHITCOIN". That is unless mankind uses so much of it, they wipe themselves out.

As we contemplate our fate and the future, let me leave you with with this thought.

The two most important days in your life were the day you were born and the day you find out how it it all began.

The world's leaders have featured prominently in this edition of Coronagrump, so let us end it with a highly appropriate song, written and sung by my friend David Richards in Hong Kong;

   

'Take me to your leaders.'

 

Take me to your leadersDavid Richards
00:00 / 03:57
Zàijiànle or 'Bye for now!'
Charles